A calculation model is proposed to examine the generation mechanism of the numerous lobes on the inner-wall of the airway in asthmatic patients and to clarify luminal occlusion of the airway inducing breathing difficulties. The basement membrane in the airway wall is modeled as a two-dimensional thin-walled shell having inertia force due to the mass, and the smooth muscle contraction effect is replaced by uniform transmural pressure applied to the basement membrane. A dynamic explicit finite element method is used as a numerical simulation method. To examine the validity of the present model, simulation of an asthma attack is performed. The number of lobes generated in the basement membrane increases when transmural pressure is applied in a shorter time period. When the remodeling of the basement membrane occurs characterized by thickening and hardening, it is demonstrated that the number of lobes decreases and the narrowing of the airway lumen becomes severe. Comparison of the results calculated by the present model with those measured for animal experiments of asthma will be possible.
2002 by The Japan Society of Mechanical Engineers