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Research Papers

A Macroscopic Model for Simulating the Mucociliary Clearance in a Bronchial Bifurcation: The Role of Surface Tension

[+] Author and Article Information
Michail Manolidis

Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109;
Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée,
Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS,
Université Paris-Saclay,
Palaiseau Cedex 91128, France
e-mail: mihalis@umich.edu

Daniel Isabey

Professor
Inserm, U955 (Equipe13) and CNRS ERL 7240,
Cell and Respiratory Biomechanics,
Université Paris Est,
Créteil 94010, France
e-mail: daniel.isabey@inserm.fr

Bruno Louis

Inserm, U955 (Equipe13) and CNRS ERL 7240,
Cell and Respiratory Biomechanics,
Université Paris Est,
Créteil 94010, France
e-mail: bruno.louis@inserm.fr

James B. Grotberg

Professor
Department of Biomedical Engineering,
University of Michigan,
Ann Arbor, MI 48109
e-mail: grotberg@umich.edu

Marcel Filoche

Professor
Laboratoire de Physique de la Matière Condensée,
Ecole Polytechnique, CNRS,
Université Paris-Saclay,
Palaiseau Cedex 91128, France;
Inserm, U955 (Equipe13) and CNRS ERL 7240,
Cell and Respiratory Biomechanics,
Université Paris Est,
Créteil 94010, France
e-ail: marcel.filoche@polytechnique.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received December 18, 2015; final manuscript received August 9, 2016; published online November 3, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Naomi Chesler.

J Biomech Eng 138(12), 121005 (Nov 03, 2016) (8 pages) Paper No: BIO-15-1655; doi: 10.1115/1.4034507 History: Received December 18, 2015; Revised August 09, 2016

The mucociliary clearance in the bronchial tree is the main mechanism by which the lungs clear themselves of deposited particulate matter. In this work, a macroscopic model of the clearance mechanism is proposed. Lubrication theory is applied for thin films with both surface tension effects and a moving wall boundary. The flow field is computed by the use of a finite-volume scheme on an unstructured grid that replicates a bronchial bifurcation. The carina in bronchial bifurcations is of special interest because it is a location of increased deposition of inhaled particles. In this study, the mucus flow is computed for different values of the surface tension. It is found that a minimal surface tension is necessary for efficiently removing the mucus while maintaining the mucus film thickness at physiological levels.

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References

Figures

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Fig. 1

Geometry of 3D two-layered flow on a flat plate

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Fig. 2

Construction of a CAD model of a symmetric bifurcation

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Fig. 3

Assigned wall velocity field showing the ridge region. Note: The vectors all have the same magnitude corresponding to a speed of 40 μm/s.

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Fig. 4

Streamlines of the prescribed wall velocity field at the ridge. The zoomed region is a rectangle following the bifurcation wall, centered across the ridge, of curvilinear length and with 6 mm and 4 mm, respectively. The carina is the center of the rectangle.

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Fig. 5

Contour plot of the pressure along the ridge (the rectangle area is identical to the one delimited in Fig. 4). The sharp drop over small distances signals a strong pressure gradient (Ca = 10−4).

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Fig. 6

Streamlines of the mucus flow field at the ridge region for four different capillary numbers (the rectangle area is identical to the one delimited in Fig. 4).

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Fig. 7

Contour plots of flow velocity magnitude in the ridge region (the rectangle area is identical to the one defined in Fig.4).

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Fig. 8

Three-dimensional representation of the mucus thickness in the entire bifurcation, for Ca = 8 × 10−4. One can observe that the thickness stabilizes to a constant value far from the bifurcations, in all three branches.

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Fig. 9

Contour plots comparing film thickness at the ridge region for four different capillary numbers (the rectangle area is identical to the one defined in Fig. 4

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