Simulation of flow in the human lung is of great practical interest as a means to study the detailed flow patterns within the airways for many physiological applications. While computational simulation techniques are quite mature, lung simulations are particularly complicated due to the vast separation of length scales between upper airways and alveoli. Many past studies have presented numerical results for truncated airway trees, however, there are significant difficulties in connecting such results with respiratory airway models. This article presents a new modeling paradigm for flow in the full lung, based on a conjugate fluid–porous formulation where the upper airway is considered as a fluid region with the remainder of the lung being considered as a coupled porous region. Results are presented for a realistic lung geometry obtained from computed tomography (CT) images, which show the method's potential as being more efficient and practical than attempting to directly simulate flow in the full lung.

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