2012 Volume 7 Issue 1 Pages 53-63
Turbulence in the oscillatory flow in realistic model human central airways was measured by particle image velocimetry (PIV) to reveal the nature of turbulence in a lung. The transparent silicone model of multi-branching airways was fabricated from X-ray CT images by rapid prototyping. The multi-branching airways comprise trachea, and right and left bronchi, with airway diameters ranging from 14 to 2 mm, respectively. Experiments were performed for a Reynolds number from 1200 to 2200 and a Womersley number from 1.9 to 2.3 in the trachea. Results showed that spatial and temporal variations of turbulent intensity strongly depends on the airway geometry and on the phase of oscillatory flow, and that expiratory flow generates strong turbulence which explosively occurs in the entire cross-section especially in the right bronchi, whereas inspiratory flow generates relatively weak turbulence near the airway wall.