An Analysis of Pollutant Gas Transport and Absorption in Pulmonary Airways

[+] Author and Article Information
J. B. Grotberg, B. V. Sheth, L. F. Mockros

Biomedical Engineering Department, The Technological Institute, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill. 60208 and Department of Anesthesia, Northwestern University Medical School, Chicago, Ill. 60611

J Biomech Eng 112(2), 168-176 (May 01, 1990) (9 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2891168 History: Received September 03, 1987; Revised December 13, 1989; Online March 17, 2008


A mathematical model of ozone absorption, or for any soluble gas that has similar transport properties, is developed for a branching network of liquid-lined cylinders. In particular, we investigate specific flow regimes for finite length tubes where boundary layer phenomena and entrance effects exist in high Reynolds and Peclet (Pe) number airways. The smaller airways which have lower Reynolds and Peclet number flows are modelled by incorporating the detailed analysis found in [10] and modifying it for airways which have alveolated surfaces. We also consider a reacting gas and treat specific regimes where the reaction front is located at the air-liquid interface, within the liquid or at the liquid-tissue interface. Asymptotic methods are used in regions of the tracheobronchial tree where Pe ≪1 and Pe≫ 1. In addition, the fact that the radial transport parameter Γ ≪1 for this toxin, and others such as nitrous oxides, is employed to simplify the analysis. The ozone concentrations, airway absorption and tissue dose are examined as a function of airway generation for several values of the governing parameters. The general result is a maximal dosing in airway generations 17 to 18 that is much larger (up to an order of magnitude) than the predictions of previous theories.

Copyright © 1990 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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