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Understanding the effects of respiratory flow profile on upper airway flow dynamics

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posted on 2022-08-12, 05:02 authored by Christopher BurchellChristopher Burchell

The flow dynamics present in the human upper airway remain largely uninvestigated. With Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) affecting an estimated 339 and 252 million people, and with inhaled therapy being the primary medical delivery system for these diseases, this is an important field to investigate. Before training, patients using inhalers typically exhibit a velocimetric inhalatory breathing profile like a developed parabolic curve. The author investigated the effect of this sinusoidal flow pattern, contrasted with the desired flow pattern for inhaler usage. This was achieved through the development of a deformable, low patency, and geometrically realistic airway replica. The region of focus was situated in the oropharynx, on a mouth breathing replicated model. All experiments were performed using Particle Imaging Velocimetry (PIV). The peak flow rates of 10, 15, 20L/min were tested. Realistic deformation of the upper airway, which includes both the passive deformation (collapse of the airway due to negative pressure acting on the lumen) and active deformation (airway dilator muscle activity) during breathing, was simulated which helps fill a void in the literature and allows for comparison to the industry standards. The results show that flow profile and active airway deformation can significantly affect flow stability and airway patency suggesting the importance of training for new inhaler users, also having implications in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) research.


Table of Contents

1. Introduction -- 2. Background and Related Work -- 3. Methodology -- 4. Results and Discussion -- 5. Implications, Limitations and Future Work -- Appendix A. Supplementary Pages -- Bibliography


A Thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis MRes, Macquarie University, School of Engineering, 2020

Department, Centre or School

School of Engineering

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Shaokoon Cheng


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




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