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Large Eddy Simulation and Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes modeling of flow in a realistic pharyngeal airway model: An investigation of obstructive sleep apnea
Aerospace Engineering, University of Cincinnati.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7330-6965
Otolargyngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati-Medical Center.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital.
Otolaryngology, Head & Neck Surgery, University of Cincinnati-Medical Center.
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2008 (English)In: Journal of Biomechanics, ISSN 0021-9290, E-ISSN 1873-2380, Vol. 41, no 10, 2279-2288 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Computational fluid dynamics techniques employing primarily steady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes (RANS) methodology have been recently used to characterize the transitional/turbulent flow field in human airways. The use of RANS implies that flow phenomena are averaged over time, the flow dynamics not being captured. Further, RANS uses two-equation turbulence models that are not adequate for predicting anisotropic flows, flows with high streamline curvature, or flows where separation occurs. A more accurate approach for such flow situations that occur in the human airway is Large Eddy Simulation (LES). The paper considers flow modeling in a pharyngeal airway model reconstructed from cross-sectional magnetic resonance scans of a patient with obstructive sleep apnea. The airway model is characterized by a maximum narrowing at the site of retropalatal pharynx. Two flow-modeling strategies are employed: steady RANS and the LES approach. In the RANS modeling framework both k–ε and k–ω turbulence models are used. The paper discusses the differences between the airflow characteristics obtained from the RANS and LES calculations. The largest discrepancies were found in the axial velocity distributions downstream of the minimum cross-sectional area. This region is characterized by flow separation and large radial velocity gradients across the developed shear layers. The largest difference in static pressure distributions on the airway walls was found between the LES and the k–ε data at the site of maximum narrowing in the retropalatal pharynx.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 41, no 10, 2279-2288 p.
Keyword [en]
Pharyngeal airway, Obstructive sleep apnea, LES, RANS
National Category
Fluid Mechanics and Acoustics Respiratory Medicine and Allergy
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-47903DOI: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.04.013ISI: 000258354200026PubMedID: 18514205OAI: diva2:456562
QC 20111115Available from: 2011-11-15 Created: 2011-11-15 Last updated: 2011-11-15Bibliographically approved

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Mihaescu, Mihai
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