CFD Simulation of the Airflow through the Human Respiratory Tract

A Thesis Presented for the Master of Science in Computational Engineering Degree, The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Jamasp Azarnoosh, August 2016

Abstract:

This study compares the effect of extra-thoracic airways (ETA) on the flow field through the lower airways by carrying out simulations of the airflow through the human respiratory tract. Three geometries, consisting of the ETA, CT-derived lower airway, and a combination of the two were utilized in simulations that were performed for transient breathing in addition to constant inspiration/expiration. Physiologically-appropriate regional ventilation for two different flow rates was induced at the distal boundaries by imposing appropriate lobar specific flow rates. Two breathing rates were considered, i.e., 7.5 and 15 breaths per minute with a tidal volume of 0.5 liter. For comparison, the flow rates for constant inspiration/expiration were selected to be identical to the peak flow rates during the transient breathing. Significant differences indicate that simulations that utilize constant inspiration or expiration may not be appropriate for gaining insight into the flow patterns through the human airways.

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