Particle deposition in the respiratory tract is studied in order to better understand the negative health effects due to cigarette smoke inhalation. Until recently, idealized models of the respiratory airways based on the original Weibel model have been used to calculate deposition. These models consist of symmetric bifurcating airways and do not take into account variations of airway diameter, and asymmetry in the human respiratory tract. Until recently, little work has been done to accurately recreate the entire upper respiratory tract including the oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx. Technological improvement has changed the way in which researchers approach this problem. With the advent of high resolution scans of the respiratory tract, accurate replica models can be created to better predict cigarette smoke particle (CSP) deposition. These models recreate actual lung geometries found in patients. For this thesis, two realistic geometric models are created. One is based on an adult male and the other on an adolescent male. CSP deposition is determined for both models in order to compare the difference cased by age in smoking. In addition, an unsteady breathing curve, indicative of realistic smoking behavior is utilized to more accurately represent the breathing conditions. Both models consist of the oral cavity, throat, larynx, trachea, and first five to seven generations of the lungs. The adult model is based on a dental cast of the mouth, a CT scan of the throat and larynx, and images based on the National Institute of Health's Visible Human Project for the tracheobronchial tree. The adolescent model is based upon a scaled oral cavity and CT scans of the rest of the reparatory tract. The program 3D Doctor is used to reconstruct the two dimensional CT scan images into a three dimensional model. VPSculpt and SolidWorks are used to combine the different parts of the models and clean up the geometry. The geometry is meshed in Gambit and exported to the Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software package Fluent to perform the fluid flow and particle deposition analysis. The Fluent Discrete Phase Model (DPM) is used to determine particle trajectories and deposition. It is found that deposition increases with the size of the inhaled particles. Particles tend to deposit towards the back of the throat, the area of the trachea just below the glottis, and at bifurcations in the airways. However, when compared to other studies in literature, deposition tended to be higher with smaller particle sizes, but more comparable with larger particle sizes. Adolescent deposition was found to be lower than adult deposition for all particle sizes.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Tobacco--Physiological effect--Simulation methods; Atmospheric deposition--Simulation methods; Lungs--Models; Unsteady flow (Fluid dynamics)

Publication Date


Document Type


Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Robinson, Risa


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