Fluid transport in branched structures with temporary closures: A model for quasistatic lung inflation

Arnab Majumdar, Adriano M. Alencar, Sergey V. Buldyrev, Zoltán Hantos, H. Eugene Stanley, Béla Suki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)


We analyze the problem of fluid transport through a model system relevant to the inflation of a mammalian lung, an asymmetric bifurcating structure containing random blockages that can be removed by the pressure of the fluid itself. We obtain a comprehensive description of the fluid flow in terms of the topology of the structure and the mechanisms which open the blockages. We show that when calculating averaged flow properties of the fluid, the tree structure can be partitioned into a linear superposition of one-dimensional chains. In particular, we relate the pressure-volume [Formula presented] relationship of the fluid to the distribution [Formula presented] of the generation number n of the tree’s terminal branches, a structural property. We invert this relation to obtain a statistical description of the underlying branching structure of the lung, by analyzing experimental pressure-volume data from dog lungs. The [Formula presented] extracted from the experimental [Formula presented] data agrees well with available data on lung branching structure. Our general results are applicable to any physical system involving transport in bifurcating structures with removable closures.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical Physics, Plasmas, Fluids, and Related Interdisciplinary Topics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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