Research Papers

An Adjustable Triple-Bifurcation Unit Model for Air-Particle Flow Simulations in Human Tracheobronchial Airways

[+] Author and Article Information
C. Kleinstreuer1

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695-7910ck@eos.ncsu.edu

Z. Zhang

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University, Raleigh NC 27695-7910



Corresponding author.

J Biomech Eng 131(2), 021007 (Dec 10, 2008) (10 pages) doi:10.1115/1.3005339 History: Received March 27, 2008; Revised August 20, 2008; Published December 10, 2008

A new methodology for a swift and accurate computer simulation of large segments of the human lung airways is presented. Focusing on a representative tracheobronchial (TB) region, i.e., G0–G15, nano- and micron particle transports have been simulated for Qin=30lmin, employing an experimentally validated computer model. The TB tree was geometrically decomposed into triple-bifurcation units with kinematically adjusted multilevel outlet/inlet conditions. Deposition patterns and maximum concentrations differ greatly between nanoparticles (1dp150nm) and micron particles (1dp10μm), which may relate uniquely to health impacts. In comparison with semi-analytical particle deposition results, it is shown that such simple “lung models” cannot predict local deposition values but can match computer simulation results for the entire TB region within 2.5–26%. The present study revealed that turbulent air-particle flow may propagate to G5 for the assumed inhalation flow rate. Geometry and upstream effects are more pronounced for micron particle deposition than for nanoparticle deposition.

Copyright © 2009 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figure 1

Models of human tracheobronchial (TB) airways. The dashed lines indicate the segmental boundaries for bifurcations.

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Figure 2

Flow diagram for particle deposition simulations in TB airways using triple-bifurcation units (TBUs)

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Figure 3

Comparison of TB deposition fractions between the present simulations and experimental measurements

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Figure 4

Typical airflow structures (Q=30l∕min)

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Figure 5

Distributions of turbulent kinetic energy (Q=30l∕min)

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Figure 6

Distributions of nanoparticle deposition enhancement factor (DEF) (Q=30l∕min and dp=10nm)

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Figure 7

Distributions of micron particle DEF (Q=30l∕min and dp=10μm)




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