Chemical Engineering Science, Vol.64, No.22, 4640-4648, 2009
Ozone uptake during inspiratory flow in a model of the larynx, trachea and primary bronchial bifurcation
Three-dimensional simulations of the transport and uptake of a reactive gas such as O-3 were compared between an idealized model of the larynx, trachea, and first bifurcation and a second "control" model in which the larynx was replaced by an equivalent, cylindrical, tube segment. The Navier-Stokes equations, Spalart-Allmaras turbulence equation, and convection-diffusion equation were implemented at conditions reflecting inhalation into an adult human lung. Simulation results were used to analyze axial velocity, turbulent viscosity, local fractional uptake, and regional uptake. Axial velocity data revealed a strong laryngeal jet with a reattachment point in the proximal trachea. Turbulent viscosity data indicated that jet turbulence occurred only at high Reynolds numbers and was attenuated by the first bifurcation. Local fractional uptake data affirmed hotspots previously reported at the first carina, and suggested additional hotspots at the glottal constriction and jet reattachment point in the proximal trachea. These laryngeal effects strongly depended on inlet Reynolds number, with maximal effects (approaching 15%) occurring at maximal inlet flow rates. While the increase in the regional uptake caused by the larynx subsided by the end of the model, the effect of the larynx on cumulative uptake persisted further downstream. These results suggest that with prolonged exposure to a reactive gas, entire regions of the larynx and proximal trachea could show signs of tissue injury. (C) 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.