CFD Simulation of Aerosol Deposition in an Anatomically Based Human Large–Medium Airway Model


DOI: 10.1007/s10439-008-9620-y

Cite this article as:
Ma, B. & Lutchen, K.R. Ann Biomed Eng (2009) 37: 271. doi:10.1007/s10439-008-9620-y


Quantitative data on aerosol deposition in the human respiratory tract are useful for understanding the causes of certain lung diseases and for designing efficient drug delivery systems via inhalation. In this study, aerosol deposition in a 3D anatomically based human large–medium airway model was simulated using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The model extended from mouth to generation 10 and included two-thirds of the airways obtained by multi-detector row computed tomography (MDCT) imaging on normal healthy human subjects. Steady oral inhalation (15, 30, and 60 L/min) and aerosol (1–30 micrometer) deposition were computed by CFD using the realizable k–epsilon turbulence model. Based on the mean turbulence flow field, the computed extrathoracic deposition, ratio of left to right lung deposition, and deposition efficiency at each generation compared favorably with existing in vivo and in vitro experiments. The significant deposition in the large–medium airway model showed that the total tracheobronchial deposition is dominated by the large–medium airways for micrometer-sized aerosol particles. These quantitative data and the methods developed in this study provided valuable means toward subject-specific modeling of aerosol deposition in the human lung based on realistic lung geometry.


Lung model Particle tracking RANS turbulence model 

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© Biomedical Engineering Society 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical EngineeringBoston UniversityBostonUSA