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Abstract

The promise of gene replacement therapy for cystic fibrosis, the administration of drugs via inhalation therapy, and die deposition location of man-made airborne particulates all involve a more complete understanding of the fluid dynamics in the human lung. Flow in the larger airways may be measured through life-sized models directly, but the airways in the peripheral lung are too small and the flows are too complex to be studied in this manner. Computational models can be developed which will accurately represent both the geometric nature of the central airways and the fluid dynamics with in them. Two-dimensional and three-dimensional models of central lung airway bifurcations were developed based on morphometry. These models were used as the spatial basis upon which the differential equations that describe incompressible flow, the Navier Stokes equations, are solved. Flow solutions have been computed at Reynolds numbers from 1000 down to 100. Solutions for single and double bifurcations agree with the experimental data for flow in a branching tube. These studies are being extended to multiple bifurcations in three dimensions.

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