An anatomically correct finite element mesh of the right human nasal cavity was constructed from CAT scans of a healthy adult nose. The steady-state Navier-Stokes and continuity equations were solved numerically to determine the laminar airflow patterns in the nasal cavity at quiet breathing flow rates. In the main nasal passages, the highest inspiratory air speed occurred along the nasal floor (below the inferior turbinate), and a second lower peak occurred in the middle of the airway (between the inferior and middle turbinates and the septum). Nearly 30 percent of the inspired volumetric flow passed below the inferior turbinate and about 10 percent passed through the olfactory airway. Secondary flows were induced by curvature and rapid changes in cross-sectional area of the airways, but the secondary velocities were small in comparison with the axial velocity through most of the main nasal passages. The flow patterns changed very little as total half-nasal flow rate varied between resting breathing rates of 125 m/s and 200 ml/s. During expiration, the peaks in velocity were smaller than inspiration, and the flow was more uniform in the turbinate region. Inspiratory streamline patterns in the model were determined by introducing neutrally buoyant point particles at various locations on the external naris plane, and tracking their path based on the computed flow field. Only the stream from the ventral tip of the naris reached the olfactory airway. The numerically computed velocity field was compared with the experimentally measured velocity field in a large scale (20×) physical model, which was built by scaling up from the same CAT scans. The numerical results showed good agreement with the experimental measurements at different locations in the airways, and confirmed that at resting breathing flow rates, airflow through the nasal cavity is laminar.

1.
Baker, A. J., Finite Element Computational Fluid Mechanics, Hemisphere Publishing Co., Washington, 1983.
2.
Elad
D.
,
Liebenthal
R.
,
Wening
B. L.
, and
Einav
S.
, “
Analysis of Air Flow Patterns in the Human Nose
,”
Med. & Biol. Eng. & Comput.
, Vol.
31
,
1993
, pp.
585
592
.
3.
FIDAP, Theoretical Manual, rev 7.0, Fluid Dynamics International Inc., Evanston, IL, 1991.
4.
Girardin
M.
,
Bilgen
E.
, and
Arbour
P.
, “
Experimental Study of Velocity Fields in a Human Nasal Fossa by Laser Anemometry
,”
Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol.
, Vol.
92
,
1983
, pp.
231
236
.
5.
Guilmette
R. A.
,
Wicks
J. D.
, and
Wolff
R. K.
, “
Morphometry of Human Nasal Airways In Vivo Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging
,”
J. Aerosol Med.
, Vol.
2
(
4
),
1989
, pp.
365
377
.
6.
Hahn
I.
,
Scherer
P. W.
, and
Mozell
M. M.
, “
Velocity Profiles Measured for Airflow Through a Large Scale Model of the Human Nasal Cavity
,”
J. Appl. Physiol
, Vol.
75
(
5
),
1993
, pp.
2273
2287
.
7.
Haroutunian
V.
,
Engelman
M. S.
, and
Hasbani
I.
, “
Segregated Finite Element Algorithms for the Numerical Solution of Large-scale Incompressible Flow Problems
,”
Int. J. Num. Meth. Fluid.
, Vol.
17
,
1993
, pp.
323
348
.
8.
Hornung
D. E.
,
Leopold
D. A.
,
Youngentob
S. L.
,
Sheehe
P. R.
,
Gagne
G. M.
,
Thomas
F. D.
, and
Mozell
M. M.
, “
Airflow Patterns in a Human Nasal Model
,”
Arch. Otol. Head Neck Surg.
, Vol.
113
,
1987
, pp.
169
172
.
9.
Kimbell, J. S., Andersen, M. E., and Morgan, K. T., “The Role of Airflow in Nasal Pathology,” Biofluid Mechanics 3: Proceedings of the Third Mid-Atlantic Conference on Biofluid Mechanics, University Press, New York, 1990, pp. 3–12.
10.
Kimbell
J. S.
,
Gross
E. A.
,
Joyner
D. R.
,
Godo
M. N.
, and
Morgan
K. T.
, “
Application of Computational Fluid Dynamics to Regional Dosimetry of Inhaled Chemicals in the Upper Respiratory Tract of the Rat
,”
Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol.
, Vol.
121
,
1993
, pp.
253
263
.
11.
Kimmelman
C. P.
, “
The Problem of Nasal Obstruction
,”
Otolaryngologic Clinics of N. Amer.
, Vol.
22
,
1989
, pp.
265
278
.
12.
Kimmelman
C. P.
, “
The Systemic Effects of Nasal Obstruction
,”
Otolaryngologic Clinics of N. Amer.
, Vol.
22
,
1989
, pp.
461
467
.
13.
Leopold, D. A., “The Relation Between Nasal Anatomy and Function,” Clinical Measurements of Taste and Smell, Meiselman H. L. and Rivlin R. S., eds., pp. 529–549, MacMillan Publishing Co., New York, 1983.
14.
Leopold
D. A.
, “
The Relationship Between Nasal Anatomy and Human Olfaction
,”
Laryngoscope
, Vol.
98
,
1988
, pp.
232
1238
.
15.
Lund
V. J.
, “
Objective Assessment of Nasal Obstruction
,”
Otolaryngologic Clinics of N. Amer.
, Vol.
22
,
1989
, pp.
279
290
.
16.
Masing
H.
, “
Investigations about the Course of Flow in the Nose Model
,”
Arch. Klin. Exp. Ohr. Nas. Kehlkopf.
, Vol.
189
,
1967
, pp.
371
381
.
17.
Metais
B.
, and
Eckert
E. R. G.
, “
Regimes of Free, Forced, and Mixed Convection for Flow Through Horizontal Tubes
,”
ASME Journal of Heat Transfer
, Vol.
86
,
1964
, pp.
295
296
.
18.
Oden, J. T., and Reddy, J. N., An Introduction to the Mathematical Theory of Finite Elements, Wiley, Inc., New York, 1976.
19.
Pedley, T. J., Schroter, R. C., and Sudlow, M. F., “Gas Flow and Mixing in Airways,” Bioengineering Aspects of the Lung, West J. B., ed., Marcel Dekker, New York, 1977.
20.
Proctor, D. F., “The Upper Airway,” The Nose, D. F. Proctor and I. Anderson, eds., Elsevier Biomedical Press, New York, 1982, pp. 23–43.
21.
Proctor, D. F., “The Mucociliary System” The Nose, D. F. Proctor and I. Anderson, eds., Elsevier Biomedical Press, New York, 1982, pp. 245–278.
22.
Proetz, A. W., Applied Physiology of the Nose, 2nd ed., Annals Publishing Co., St. Louis, 1953.
23.
Proetz
A. W.
, “
Air Currents in the Upper Respiratory Tract and their Clinical Importance
,”
Ann. Otol. Rhinol. Laryngol.
, Vol.
60
,
1951
, pp.
439
467
.
24.
Scherer, P. W., Keyhani, K., and Mozell, M. M., “Nasal Dosimetry Modelling for Humans,” Inhalation Toxicol., in press.
25.
Schreck
S.
,
Sullivan
K. J.
,
Ho
C. M.
,
Chang
H. K.
, “
Correlations Between Flow Resistance and Geometry in a Model of the Human Nose
,”
J. Appl. Physiol
, Vol.
75
(
4
),
1993
, pp.
1767
1775
.
26.
Stuiver, M., “Biophysics of the Sense of Smell, Doctoral Thesis, Rijks University, Groningen, The Netherlands, 1958.
27.
Swift, D. L., and Proctor, D. F., “Access of Air to the Respiratory Tract,” Respiratory Defense Mechanisms, Brain J. D., Proctor D. F., and Reid L. M., eds., Marcel Dekker Inc., New York, 1977, pp. 63–91.
28.
Tarabichi
M.
, and
Fanous
N.
, “
Finite Element Analysis of Airflow in the Nasal Valve
,”
Arch. Otol Head Neck Surg.
, Vol.
119
,
1993
, pp.
169
172
.
This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.