Inspiratory Deposition Efficiency of Ultrafine Particles in a Human Airway Bifurcation Model

Werner Hofmann, R. Golser, I. Balásházy

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The inspiratory deposition efficiency of ultrafine particles in a physiologically realistic bronchial airway bifurcation model, approximating the airway generation 3-4 juncture, was computed for different particle sizes, ranging from 1 to 500 nm, under three different flow conditions, representing resting to heavy exercise breathing conditions. For the smallest particle sizes, say between 1 and 10 nm, molecular diffusion is the primary deposition mechanism, as indicated by the inverse relationship with flow rate, except for the highest flow rate where the additional effect of convective diffusion has to be considered as well. For the larger particle sizes, say above 20 nm, the independence from particle size and dependence on flow rate suggests that convective diffusion plays the major role for ultrafine particle deposition in bifurcations. A semiempirical equation for the inspiratory deposition efficiency, η(D, Q), as a function of diffusion coefficient D and flow rate Q, due to the combined effect of molecular and convective diffusion was derived by fitting the numerical data. The very existence of a mixed term demonstrates that molecular and convective diffusion are not statistically independent from each other.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-994
Number of pages7
JournalAerosol Science and Technology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2003


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Pollution

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