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Materials 2013, 6(12), 5639-5658; doi:10.3390/ma6125639

On the Role of Mechanics in Chronic Lung Disease

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University, 496 Lomita Mall, Stanford,CA 94305, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 11 November 2013 / Accepted: 20 November 2013 / Published: 4 December 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Computational Modeling and Simulation in Materials Study)
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Progressive airflow obstruction is a classical hallmark of chronic lung disease, affecting more than one fourth of the adult population. As the disease progresses, the inner layer of the airway wall grows, folds inwards, and narrows the lumen. The critical failure conditions for airway folding have been studied intensely for idealized circular cross-sections. However, the role of airway branching during this process is unknown. Here, we show that the geometry of the bronchial tree plays a crucial role in chronic airway obstruction and that critical failure conditions vary significantly along a branching airway segment. We perform systematic parametric studies for varying airway cross-sections using a computational model for mucosal thickening based on the theory of finite growth. Our simulations indicate that smaller airways are at a higher risk of narrowing than larger airways and that regions away from a branch narrow more drastically than regions close to a branch. These results agree with clinical observations and could help explain the underlying mechanisms of progressive airway obstruction. Understanding growth-induced instabilities in constrained geometries has immediate biomedical applications beyond asthma and chronic bronchitis in the diagnostics and treatment of chronic gastritis, obstructive sleep apnea and breast cancer. View Full-Text
Keywords: material modeling; biomaterials; instability; buckling; folding; growth; remodeling; finite element method; airway wall remodeling; chronic lung disease material modeling; biomaterials; instability; buckling; folding; growth; remodeling; finite element method; airway wall remodeling; chronic lung disease

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Eskandari, M.; Pfaller, M.R.; Kuhl, E. On the Role of Mechanics in Chronic Lung Disease. Materials 2013, 6, 5639-5658.

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