A Computational Model of Particle Transport and Deposition in the Human Nasal Cavity

EPA Grant Number: F6D30983
Title: A Computational Model of Particle Transport and Deposition in the Human Nasal Cavity
Investigators: Shanley, Kevin
Institution: Clarkson University
EPA Project Officer: Zambrana, Jose
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through September 1, 2009
Project Amount: $111,172
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Fellowship - Public Health Sciences , Health Effects


A 3-dimensional model is being constructed from cross-sections obtained from a CT scan of an anonymous human subject’s nose. Once the model has been constructed, it will be loaded into the commercially available software, FLUENT, where numerical experiments can be conducted.

The objective of this work is to observe quantitative phenomena like capture efficiency for spherical particle diameter sizes in the nanometer and micrometer ranges and non-spherical fibrous particles.


Laminar flow as well as turbulent flows corresponding to a range of breathing rate will be studied. An Eulerian-Lagrangian approach will be used to model the airflow and particle transport and deposition process. Several turbulence models including k-epsilon, stress transport and large eddy simulation (LES) will be employed.

Expected Results:

It is expected that spherical particles with diameters in the nanometer range will deposit with a higher frequency when compared to their counterparts having diameters in the range of 01 to 1 micrometers due to the effects of Brownian motion. For larger particles, the deposition rate is expected to increase due to inertia impaction. While the fibrous particles are expected to deposition at higher rate compared to the spherical particle with same relaxation time, the quantitative differences in the capture efficiencies are, as yet, unclear.

Supplemental Keywords:

indoor air pollution, outdoor air pollution, airborne pollutants, human nasal cavity, respiratory system, respiratory illness, respiratory disease, particle transport, particle deposition, computational fluid dynamics, CFD,, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Waste, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Air Quality, Health Risk Assessment, Fate & Transport, Atmospheric Sciences, fate and transport, particle size, computational model, inhalation exposures, kinetics, partical transport model, atmospheric deposition

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2007
  • 2008
  • Final