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Computational Fluid Dynamic Predictions and Experimental Results for Particle Deposition in an Airway Model


An area identified as having a high priority by the National Research Council (NRC 1998) relating to health effects of exposure to urban particulate matter is the investigation of particle deposition patterns in potentially-susceptible subpopulations. A key task for risk assessment is development and refinement of mathematical models that predict local deposition patterns of inhaled particles in airways. Recently, computational fluid dynamic modeling (CFD) has provided the ability to predict local airflows and particle deposition patterns in various structures of the human respiratory tract. Although CFD results generally agree with available data from human studies, there is a need for experimental particle deposition investigations that provide more detailed comparisons with computed local patterns of particle deposition. Idealized 3-generation hollow tracheobronchial models based on the Weibel symmetric morphometry for airway lengths and diameters (generations 3-5) were constructed with physiologically-realistic bifurcations. Monodisperse fluorescent polystyrene latex particles (1 and 10 μm aerodynamic diameter) were deposited in these models at a steady inspiratory flow of 7.5 L/min (equivalent to heavy exertion with a tracheal flow of 60 L/min). The models were opened and the locations of deposited particles were mapped using fluorescence microscopy. The particle deposition predictions using CFD for 10 μm particles correlated well with those found experimentally. CFD predictions were not available for the 1 μm diameter case, but the experimental results for such particles are presented.

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