Bird lung models show that convective inertia effects inspiratory aerodynamic valving

Wang Ning Wang, Robert B. Banzett, James P. Butler, Jeffrey J. Fredberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We assessed various aerodynamic factors which might influence inspiratory valve function in the avian lung. During inspiration, no flow enters the proximal segments of the ventrobronchi connecting the primary bronchus to cranial sacs. Instead, all flow in the primary bronchus continues through the mesobronchus. This pattern of flow past the ventrobronchi into the mesobronchus is called inspiratory aerodynamic valving. Introducing steady inspiratory flows into simplified plastic models of a bifurcation, we altered geometry, downstream resistance, flow rate and gas density while we measured the resulting flow partitioning between downstream branches. We found that these models did reproduce the inspiratory valving phenomenon. Gas flow rate, gas density and geometry upstream of the bifurcation played important roles in flow partitioning, but the geometry and branching angles of teh ventrobronchi did not. These findings are consistent with the idea that convective inertia of the inspiratory gas stream promotes preferential axial flow (Butler et al., 1988) and may be the principal mechanism accounting for inspiratory aerodynamic valving in the avian lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-124
Number of pages14
JournalRespiration Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 1988
Externally publishedYes


  • Avian respiration
  • Bird airways
  • Respiratory gas flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine


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