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Surfactant Spreading on a Thin Film Is Sensitive to Film Thickness: Implications for In Vivo Pulmonary Systems Versus In Vitro Scenarios

[+] Author Affiliations
Trina A. Siebert, Sandra Rugonyi

Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, OR

Paper No. SBC2007-174065, pp. 281-282; 2 pages
  • ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference
  • ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference
  • Keystone, Colorado, USA, June 20–24, 2007
  • Conference Sponsors: Bioengineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4798-5
  • Copyright © 2007 by ASME


The role of pulmonary surfactant is critical to the mechanics of the lung. Pulmonary surfactant forms a monolayer film at the air-liquid interface of a thin film of fluid lining the alveoli. Without surfactant, the air-liquid surface tension would be too high and the lungs would collapse during exhalation, as is the case with premature babies who develop respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) because they lack a sufficient amount of pulmonary surfactant [1]. Because an increase in surfactant surface concentration correlates with a decrease in surface tension, the surface tension gradients resulting when a monolayer of surfactant is deposited on a thin fluid film cause the surfactant to spread. This self-spreading phenomenon is of interest for applications such as surfactant replacement therapy in infants suffering from RDS and for drug delivery [1,2].

Copyright © 2007 by ASME



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