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  Physical and geometric constraints shape the labyrinth-like nasal cavity

Zwicker, D., Ostilla-Mónico, R., Lieberman, D. E., & Brenner, M. P. (2018). Physical and geometric constraints shape the labyrinth-like nasal cavity. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115(12), 2936-2941. doi:10.1073/pnas.1714795115.

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Item Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-70A3-7 Version Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-70A4-6
Genre: Journal Article

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 Creators:
Zwicker, David1, Author              
Ostilla-Mónico, R., Author
Lieberman, D. E., Author
Brenner, M. P., Author
Affiliations:
1Max Planck Research Group Theory of Biological Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society, ou_2516693              

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 Abstract: The nasal cavity is a vital component of the respiratory system that heats and humidifies inhaled air in all vertebrates. Despite this common function, the shapes of nasal cavities vary widely across animals. To understand this variability, we here connect nasal geometry to its function by theoretically studying the airflow and the associated scalar exchange that describes heating and humidification. We find that optimal geometries, which have minimal resistance for a given exchange efficiency, have a constant gap width between their side walls, while their overall shape can adhere to the geometric constraints imposed by the head. Our theory explains the geometric variations of natural nasal cavities quantitatively, and we hypothesize that the trade-off between high exchange efficiency and low resistance to airflow is the main driving force shaping the nasal cavity. Our model further explains why humans, whose nasal cavities evolved to be smaller than expected for their size, become obligate oral breathers in aerobically challenging situations.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-03-052018-03-20
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Method: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1714795115
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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Source Genre: Journal
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Pages: - Volume / Issue: 115 (12) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 2936 - 2941 Identifier: -