Computational fluid dynamics investigation of human aspiration in low velocity air: Orientation effects on nose-breathing simulations

Kimberly R. Anderson, T. Renée Anthony

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


An understanding of how particles are inhaled into the human nose is important for developing samplers that measure biologically relevant estimates of exposure in the workplace. While previous computational mouth-breathing investigations of particle aspiration have been conducted in slow moving air, nose breathing still required exploration. Computational fluid dynamics was used to estimate nasal aspiration efficiency for an inhaling humanoid form in low velocity wind speeds (0.1-0.4 m s.1). Breathing was simplified as continuous inhalation through the nose. Fluid flow and particle trajectories were simulated over seven discrete orientations relative to the oncoming wind (0, 15, 30, 60, 90, 135, 180°). Sensitivities of the model simplification and methods were assessed, particularly the placement of the recessed nostril surface and the size of the nose. Simulations identified higher aspiration (13% on average) when compared to published experimental wind tunnel data. Significant differences in aspiration were identified between nose geometry, with the smaller nose aspirating an average of 8.6% more than the larger nose. Differences in fluid flow solution methods accounted for 2% average differences, on the order of methodological uncertainty. Similar trends to mouth-breathing simulations were observed including increasing aspiration efficiency with decreasing freestream velocity and decreasing aspiration with increasing rotation away from the oncoming wind. These models indicate nasal aspiration in slow moving air occurs only for particles <100 μm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)625-645
Number of pages21
JournalAnnals of Occupational Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • dust
  • dust sampling convention
  • inhalability
  • inhalable dust
  • low velocity
  • model
  • nose


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