The intent of this thesis was to develop an understanding for the particle flow characteristics in the human lung by examining particle flow profiles in a three generation lung model. To develop this understanding, experimentally derived flow profiles were compared to analytical solutions, where applicable, and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) generated models for validation of both the CFD model and the experimental set-up. Validation of flow velocities in a three generation model could contribute significantly to the medical industry as a better understanding of particle behavior in the lung could lead to more accurate treatment of certain diseases and better prediction of health effects of inhaled contaminants. Particle flow in a three generation lung model was studied using a technique known as Particle Image Velocimetry (PIV). PIV involves passing a widely dispersed laser beam through a flow field of specifically sized and fluorescently colored particles. These fluorescent particles are photographed by a high-speed camera under high magnification. These images are then digitally sent to VisiFlow analysis software where each particle's flow path is mapped and converted, through a cross-correlation technique, into a vector field, from which the velocity profiles can be derived. Following successful interpretation of the experimentally derived velocity profiles, a comparison was drawn between the experimentally collected data and the anticipated result based on an existing CFD model. This comparison served to not only validate the experimental test set-up but also to validate the CFD model. A favorable correlation between the experimental results and the CFD results provided confidence that a valid solution for flow profiles was achieved. Achieving a valid experimental result was dependent on many factors. The ability of the test setup to accurately produce flow profiles was measured using less complicated and easily calculated models. In doing so, confidence was developed that current scientific, analytical and experimental practices and procedures were accurately eliminating or minimizing sources of error and ultimately providing an accurate solution. As a result, not only was a valid experimental model derived but a thorough understanding of proper laboratory techniques was achieved.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Particle image velocimetry; Fluid dynamic measurements; Lungs--Computer simulation; Respiration--Computer simulation

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Mechanical Engineering (MS)

Department, Program, or Center

Mechanical Engineering (KGCOE)


Risa Robinson

Advisor/Committee Member

Mark Kempski

Advisor/Committee Member

Amitabha Ghosh


“I, Adam D. Pruyne, desire to be contacted each time a request for reproduction is made.”


RIT – Main Campus

Plan Codes