Modelling of Peak-Flow Wall Shear Stress in Major Airways of the Lung

J Biomech. 2004 May;37(5):661-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2003.09.024.


Some respiratory diseases result in the inflammation of the lung airway epithelium. An associated chronic cough, as found in many cases of asthma and in long-term smokers, can exacerbate damage to the epithelial layer. It has been proposed that wall shear stresses, created by peak expiratory flow-rates during a coughing episode, are responsible. The work here uses a computational fluid dynamics technique to model peak expiratory flow in the trachea and major lung bronchi. Calculated wall shear stress values are compared to a limited set of published measurements taken from a physical model. The measurements are discussed in the context of a flow study of a complex bronchial network. A more complete picture is achieved by the calculation method, indicating, in some cases, higher maximum wall shear stresses than measured, confirming the original findings of the experimental work. Recommendations are made as to where further work would be beneficial to medical applications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Airway Resistance / physiology
  • Bronchi / physiology
  • Computer Simulation
  • Cough / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Models, Biological*
  • Motion
  • Pressure
  • Pulmonary Ventilation / physiology*
  • Rheology / methods*
  • Shear Strength
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Trachea / physiology*
  • Viscosity