An axisymmetric single-path model for gas transport in the conducting airways

Srinath Madasu, Ali Borhan, James S. Ultman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


In conventional one-dimensional single-path models, radially averaged concentration is calculated as a function of time and longitudinal position in the lungs, and coupled convection and diffusion are accounted for with a dispersion coefficient. The axisymmetric single-path model developed in this paper is a two-dimensional model that incorporates convective-diffusion processes in a more fundamental manner by simultaneously solving the Navier-Stokes and continuity equations with the convection-diffusion equation. A single airway path was represented by a series of straight tube segments interconnected by leaky transition regions that provide for flow loss at the airway bifurcations. As a sample application, the model equations were solved by a finite element method to predict the unsteady state dispersion of an inhaled pulse of inert gas along an airway path having dimensions consistent with Weibel's symmetric airway geometry. Assuming steady, incompressible, and laminar flow, a finite element analysis was used to solve for the axisymmetric pressure, velocity and concentration fields. The dispersion calculated from these numerical solutions exhibited good qualitative agreement with the experimental values, but quantitatively was in error by 20%-30% due to the assumption of axial symmetry and the inability of the model to capture the complex recirculatory flows near bifurcations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)69-75
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


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