Gas dispersion in volume-cycled tube flow. II. Tracer bolus experiments

D. P. Gaver, J. Solway, N. Punjabi, D. Elad, J. B. Grotberg, N. Gavriely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a new method for rapid measurement of local gas dispersion in volume-cycled tube flow. After a small bolus of tracer gas (argon) was injected into the oscillating flow, the time-averaged effective diffusion coefficient (<D(eff)/D>) for axial transport of a tracer gas is evaluated from local argon concentration measurements taken by a mass spectrometer. Two methods are presented for the evaluation of <D(eff)/D> from the concentration measurements: one uses all the sampled data, and the other uses only the local peaks of the concentration. Experiments were conducted in two tubes (radius = 0.85 or 1.0 cm) over a range of frequencies (0.42 ≤ f ≤ 8.5 Hz) and tidal volumes (7 ≤ VT ≤ 48 ml). The experimental results show very good agreement with the theoretical predictions of Elad et al. (J. Appl. Physiol. 72: 312-320, 1992). In the absence of oscillations (static fluid), the resulting <D(eff)/D> converges to that of molecular diffusion. We also show that concentration data may be acquired at any radial or axial position, not necessarily at the tracer gas injection point, and the resulting <D(eff)/D> is independent of the spatial position of the sampling catheter. This method is of similar accuracy and is substantially faster than previous methods for measuring gas dispersion in oscillatory flows. The rapidity of these measurements may permit this method to be used for the in vivo assessment of gas transport properties within the pulmonary system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-331
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • airway gas mixing
  • cardiogenic oscillation
  • convection diffusion
  • effective diffusivity
  • gas transport
  • high-frequency ventilation
  • oscillatory flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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