The effect of viscoelastic properties and surface tension of artificial mucus simulant samples on the size distribution and volume concentration of bioaerosol droplets generated during simulated coughing was investigated through in vitro experiments. The mucus simulant samples had viscoelastic properties in a similar range as those of real human airway mucus. The mucus simulant gels were prepared by mixing various proportions of 0.5–1.7% locust bean gum solution and 0.1 M sodium tetraborate (XLB) solution. Surface tension of one set of samples was varied by adding different amounts of SDS (sodium dodecyl sulfate) surfactant while the measurement of surface tension was performed using ADSA (axisymmetric drop shape analysis) method. The viscoelastic properties of the samples were measured using a Bohlin Gemini 200 HR (Malvern, UK) nano-rheometer with peltier plate assembly. An artificial cough machine was used to simulate human cough, generating aerosol droplets in a model trachea attached to the front of the cough machine. The size distribution and volume concentration of the droplets generated through simulated cough were measured using a laser diffraction particle sizer (SprayTec, Malvern, USA). The surface tension was found to have negligible effect on the characteristic of generated droplets within the range of this investigation. The experimental results showed a decrease in particle size as the samples changed from a viscous fluid type to a viscoelastic to an elastic solid type sample. The volume concentration also changed significantly as the viscoelasticity of the samples was varied.
Journal of Non-Newtonian Fluid Mechanics – Elsevier
Published: Nov 1, 2010
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