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Contribution of facial feature dimensions and velocity parameters on particle inhalability.

Ann Occup Hyg 2010 Aug; 54(6):710-725
To examine whether the actual dimensions of human facial features are important to the development of a low-velocity inhalable particulate mass sampling criterion, this study evaluated the effect of facial feature dimensions (nose and lips) on estimates of aspiration efficiency of inhalable particles using computational fluid dynamics modeling over a range of indoor air and breathing velocities. Fluid flow and particle transport around four humanoid forms with different facial feature dimensions were simulated. All forms were facing the wind (0.2, 0.4 m s-1), and breathing was simulated with constant inhalation (1.81, 4.3, 12.11ms-1). The fluid flow field was solved using standard k-epsilon turbulence equations, and laminar particle trajectories were used to determine critical areas defining inhaled particles. The critical areas were then used to compute the aspiration efficiency of the mouth-breathing humanoid. One-tailed t-tests indicated that models with larger nose and lip features resulted in significantly lower aspiration efficiencies than geometries with smaller features, but the shape of the orifice into the mouth (rounded rectangle versus elliptical) had no effect on aspiration efficiency. While statistically significant, the magnitudes of differences were small: on average, the large nose reduced aspiration efficiency by 6.5% and the large lips reduced aspiration efficiency by 3.2%. In comparison, a change in breathing velocity from at-rest to heavy increased aspiration efficiency by an average of 21% over all particle sizes, indicating a much greater impact of aspiration efficiency on breathing rate in the facing-the-wind orientation. Linear regression models confirmed that particle diameter and breathing velocity were significant predictors to the aspiration fraction, while the facial feature dimensions were not significant contributors to a unifying model. While these effects may be less pronounced as the orientation changes from facing-the-wind, their impact confirms the importance of breathing velocity and, to a lesser extent, facial feature dimensions on exposure estimates in low freestream velocities typical of occupational environments.
Breathing; Inhalation-studies; Particulate-sampling-methods; Particulates; Sampling-methods; Air-flow; Air-samples; Air-sampling-equipment; Aerosol-particles; Aerosol-sampling; Author Keywords: aerosols; computational fluid dynamics; dust sampling conventions; inhalable dust
T. Renée E Anthony, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, University of Iowa, 100 Oakdale Campus, 108 IREH, Iowa City, IA 52242-5000, USA
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Annals of Occupational Hygiene
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University of Iowa