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Airflow in the Human Nasal Cavity: An Inter-Subject Comparison

[+] Author Affiliations
Donal J. Taylor, Denis J. Doorly, Robert C. Schroter

Imperial College London, London, UK

Paper No. SBC2009-206459, pp. 1071-1072; 2 pages
  • ASME 2009 Summer Bioengineering Conference
  • ASME 2009 Summer Bioengineering Conference, Parts A and B
  • Lake Tahoe, California, USA, June 17–21, 2009
  • Conference Sponsors: Bioengineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4891-3
  • Copyright © 2009 by ASME


The human nose is a remarkably complicated biological conduit that plays a significant, perpetual role in respiratory defense and olfaction. It is not a passive organ and has evolved to balance many conflicting requirements, while processing 10,000 litres of inspired air in a typical day [1]. The highly vascularised nasal mucosa heats and humidifies adjacent airflow, whilst the nasal mucosa collects nearly all particles over 5 μm diameter and approximately 50% of those between 2–4 μm [1]. Furthermore, the nasal airways house the olfactory apparatus, which enables humans to sense (smell) the external environment. The research presented here incorporates Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) in conjunction with experimental optical measurement techniques to resolve the patterns of flow within the nasal airways of two healthy subjects. This abstract details the experimental and computational methodologies used to simulate constant inspiration at a rate of 100 ml.s−1, which is representative of quiet restful breathing. The results presented focus on a comparison of the upper airway flow distributions in both subjects.

Copyright © 2009 by ASME
Topics: Air flow , Cavities



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