Simulation of fluid dynamics and particle transport in a realistic human nasal cavity

Inthavong, K 2008, Simulation of fluid dynamics and particle transport in a realistic human nasal cavity, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Simulation of fluid dynamics and particle transport in a realistic human nasal cavity
Author(s) Inthavong, K
Year 2008
Abstract Airflow and particle transport through the nasal cavity was studied using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). A computational model of the human nasal cavity was reconstructed through CT scans. The process involved defining the airway outline through points in space that had to be fitted with a closed surface. The airflow was first simulated and detailed airflow structures such as local vortices, wall shear stresses, pressure drop and flow distribution were obtained. In terms of heat transfer the differences in the width of the airway especially in the frontal regions was found to be critical as the temperature difference was greatest and therefore heating of the air is expedited when the air is surrounded by the hotter walls. Understanding the effects of the airway geometry on the airflow patterns allows better predictions of particle transport through the airway.

Inhalation of foreign particles is filtered by the nasal cilia to some degree as a defence mechanism of the airway. Particles such as asbestos fibres, pollen and diesel fumes can be considered as toxic and lead to health problems. These particles were introduced and the effects of particle morphology were considered by customising the particle trajectory equation. This mainly included the effects of the drag correlation and its shape factor. Local particle deposition sites, detailed deposition efficiencies and particle trajectories were obtained. High inertial particles tended to be filtered within the anterior regions of the cavity due to a change in direction of the airway as the air flow changes from vertical at the inlet to horizontal within the main nasal passage.

Inhaled particles with pharmacological agents are often deliberately introduced into the nasal airway with a target delivery. The mucous lined airway that is highly vascular provides an avenue for drug delivery into the blood stream. An initial nasal spray experiment was performed to determine the parameters that were important for nasal spray drug delivery. The important parameters were determined to be the spray angle, initial particle velocity and particle swirl. It was found that particles were formed at a break-up length at a cone diameter greater than the spray nozzle diameter. The swirl fraction determined how much of the velocity magnitude went into a tangential component. By combining a swirling component along with a narrow spray into the main streamlines, greater penetration of larger particles into the nasal cavity may be possible. These parameters were then used as the boundary conditions for a parametric study into sprayed particle drug delivery within the CFD domain. The results were aimed to assist in the design of more efficient nasal sprays.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering
Keyword(s) Nasal cavity
Airflow patterns
Particle deposition
Nasal spray
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