In order to understand mechanisms of gas and aerosol transport in the human respiratory system airflow in the upper airways of a pediatric subject (male aged 5) was calculated using Computational Fluid Dynamic techniques. An in vitro reconstruction of the subject’s anatomy was produced from MRI images. Flow fields were solved for steady inhalation at 6.4 and 8 LPM. For validation of the numerical solution, airflow in an adult cadaver based trachea was solved using identical numerical methods. Comparisons were made between experimental results and computational data of the adult model to determine solution validity. It was found that numerical simulations can provide an accurate representation of axial velocities and turbulence intensity. Data on flow resistance, axial velocities, secondary velocity vectors, and turbulent kinetic energy are presented for the pediatric case. Turbulent kinetic energy and axial velocities were heavily dependant on flow rate, whereas turbulence intensity varied less over the flow rates studied. The laryngeal jet from an adult model was compared to the laryngeal jet in the pediatric model based on Tracheal Reynolds number. The pediatric case indicated that children show axial velocities in the laryngeal jet comparable to adults, who have much higher tracheal Reynolds numbers than children due to larger characteristic dimensions. The intensity of turbulence follows a similar trend, with higher turbulent kinetic energy levels in the pediatric model than would be expected from measurements in adults at similar tracheal Reynolds numbers. There was reasonable agreement between the location of flow structures between adults and children, suggesting that an unknown length scale correlation factor could exist that would produce acceptable predictions of pediatric velocimetry based off of adult data sets. A combined scale for turbulent intensity as well may not exist due to the complex nature of turbulence production and dissipation.
Computational Simulations of Airflow in an In Vitro Model of the Pediatric Upper Airways
Contributed by the Bioengineering Division for publication in the JOURNAL OF BIOMECHANICAL ENGINEERING. Manuscript received by the Bioengineering Division March 12, 2004; revision received May 13, 2004. Associate Editor: A. Yoganathan.
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Allen , G. M., Shortall , B. P., Gemci, T., Corcoran, T. E., and Chigier, N. A. (November 23, 2004). "Computational Simulations of Airflow in an In Vitro Model of the Pediatric Upper Airways ." ASME. J Biomech Eng. October 2004; 126(5): 604–613. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.1800554
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