Deposition of Smoke Particles in Human Airways with Realistic Waveform

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Atmosphere, 2021, 12, (7), pp. 1-22
Issue Date:
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Exposure to toxic particles from smoke generated either from bush fire, stable burning, or direct smoking is very harmful to our health. The tiny particles easily penetrate deep into the lungs after exposure and damage the airways. Tobacco smoking causes the direct emission of 2.6 million tons of CO2 and 5.2 million tons of methane annually into the atmosphere. Nevertheless, it is one of the significant contributors to various respiratory diseases leading to lung cancer. These particles’ deposition in the human airway is computed in the present article for refining our understanding of the adverse health effects due to smoke particle inhalation, especially cigarette smoke. Until recently, little work has been reported to account for the transient flow pattern of cigarette smoking. Consideration of transient flow may change the deposition pattern of the particle. A high-resolution CT scan image of the respiratory tract model consisting of the oral cavity, throat, trachea, and first to sixth generations of the lungs helps predict cigarette smoke particle (CSP) deposition. With the same scan, a realistic geometric model of the human airways of an adult subject is used to simulate the transport of air and particle. The CSP deposition is determined at different locations from the oral cavity to the sixth generation of the bronchi. In addition, an unsteady breathing curve indicative of realistic smoking behavior is utilized to represent the breathing conditions accurately. The discrete phase model (DPM) technique is used to determine smoke particle deposition in the human airways. It is found that the deposition increases with the size of the smoke particle. Particles tend to deposit in the oral cavity around the bifurcation junction of the airways. The deposition fraction of CSP with the realistic waveform of smoking is found to be smaller compared to that during the stable flow condition. It is also observed that the fine particles (0.1–1.0 micron) escape to lower generations, leading to higher deposition of fine particles in the deeper airways. The outcome of the study is helpful for understanding smoke-related pulmonary complications.
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