Mucus and Ciliated Cells of Human Lung: Splitting Strategies for Particle Methods and 3D Stokes Flows

Abstract : This work is introducing a fractional step algorithm for diffusion-transport allowing computation of flows with sharp variations of viscosity. This splitting also allows to perform transport with Lagrangian methods and diffusion with Eulerian methods, using hybrid grid-particle formulation. This splitting algorithm is globally second order. It is applied to computation of mucus mobility in human lungs, where epithelium ciliated cells are beating. A sufficient mobility is required to have healthy configurations. Our goal is to study the dependency of mucus mobility with respect to its viscosity in order to investigate mechanisms involved in pathologies such as cystic fibrosis. Scientific computing involving phenomena where transport effects are dominant, is still a challenge for realistic modeling of complex flows. Among the most famous problems, one can find Euler and Navier-Stokes equations, in velocity-pressure or velocity-vorticity formulations, with various boundary conditions. Particle and vortex methods are a well-known and efficient tool for this kind of problem. In the present paper we describe some aspects on how to use particle methods in the context of highly viscous flows. The application investigated is the propulsion of pulmonary mucus in human lungs. A meaningful model is 3D Stokes flows with a variable viscosity, depending on concentration of proteins (mucins), itself following a diffusion-transport equation. In additions to this coupling, the mucus film covering lung walls is interacting with epithelium ciliated cells, vibrating in the range of 4 to 20 Hz, as shown on figure 1. In the present study we neglect interactions between mucus and air (proven to be a non-dominant interaction), and visco-elastic effects. The aspect we aim at developing in this article is how to split diffusion and transport in this context.
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R. Chatelin, Philippe Poncet, A. Didier, M. Murris-Espin, D. Anne-Archard, et al.. Mucus and Ciliated Cells of Human Lung: Splitting Strategies for Particle Methods and 3D Stokes Flows. Procedia IUTAM, cElsevier, 2015, 18, pp.114-122. ⟨10.1016/j.piutam.2015.11.012⟩. ⟨hal-02010736⟩

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