A Mathematical Model for the Morphology of the Pulmonary Acinus

[+] Author and Article Information
E. Denny, R. C. Schroter

Physiological Flow Studies Group, Centre for Biological and Medical Systems, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, Prince Consort Road, South Kensington, London SW7 2BY, England

J Biomech Eng 118(2), 210-215 (May 01, 1996) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2795961 History: Received March 24, 1994; Revised March 17, 1995; Online October 30, 2007


A computational method is proposed for the construction of a three-dimensional space-filling model of an acinar ventilatory unit. Its geometry consists of truncated octahedra arranged in a cuboidal block. The ducts and alveoli are formed by opening specific common faces between polyhedra. The branching structure is automatically computed using algorithms solely to maximise the number of alveoli and minimise the average path lengths; it is not formed with reference to published experimental data. Properties of the model such as the total alveolar and ductal volumes, the distribution of individual path lengths to the alveolar sacs, and the average number of ducts per generation are calculated. The predicted morphology of the model compares well with published data for rat lungs.

Copyright © 1996 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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