Flow in a bifurcating tube system typifying a major bronchial bifurcation is studied experimentally with a two color, two velocity component laser Doppler anemometer. The flow loop is composed of a pumping station, flow stratifiers and a constant head pressure tank; it can accommodate steady, pulsatile or oscillatory flow. The test section is a symmetric bifurcation of constant cross sectional area and has a branching angle of 70 deg. The test section is a cast of clear silicon rubber in a plexiglass mold that was milled on a numerically controlled milling machine. The flow division ratio from the parent to daughter branches is about unity. Steady flow results that model the inspiratory phase at Reynolds numbers of 518, 1036 and 2089, corresponding to Dean numbers of 98, 196 and 395, show that in the bifurcation plane velocity profiles in the daughter branches are skewed toward the inner wall. In the transverse plane, “m” shaped velocity profiles are found with low velocity at the center. Secondary flow patterns, which are responsible for such phenomena, are first observed at the axial position where the flow begins to turn. Flow separation was not observed at any point in the bifurcation.

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