Computational Fluid Dynamics at PMI

Computational Fluid Dynamics at PMI



Engineering lies at the heart of PMI’s progress. Delivering better means combining vision and science into something real and collaborative. Engineers do just that. They rely on advanced collective methods for harnessing data and for assessing every plan, prototype and innovation. 

The capacity to analyze large volumes of data has transformed several, if not all industries. For example, with only very limited track testing permitted in Formula 1, engineers are faced with increasing challenges. Fortunately, it’s now far quicker to simulate the air flow and make modifications in a computer using Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software. Scuderia Ferrari engineers can now design and try out new parts without having to build them each time.

Similarly, the use of computerized techniques and an in-depth understanding of CFD applications has transformed the way in which our experiments are designed. It gives our engineers the ability to conduct computational analysis, helping them to design optimized solutions. 

For instance, CFD simulations give us detailed, non-invasive information that helps us understand airflow inside a model of the human respiratory tract, and so simulate aerosol exposure. Aerosol deposition depends on a variety of factors ranging from complex airflow in the respiratory tract to evolving physical and chemical properties. Using CFD, to create a computational model of an in-vitro system, can help address some of the relevant questions and challenges in studying aerosol evolution and deposition. 

This matters in everyday life because people are continuously exposed to a whole range of aerosols. Based on the physical and chemical properties of each, this exposure can be neutral, therapeutic or potentially hazardous. Understanding the physical conditions that govern deposition of aerosol droplets and its influence on the cell function is a key step towards the ultimate goal of relating the exposure of inhaled and deposited aerosols to health outcomes.  

In 2017 PMI R&D and the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Twente in the Netherlands developed AeroSolved, a free and open source software suite for simulating the physical properties and dynamics of aerosols. The website and open source code are the result of a collaborative project designed to enable scientists to learn and explore multiple facets of aerosol physics using Computational Fluid Dynamics. The implemented aerosol physics can be applied to a wide range of practical uses, including the development of aerosol generators and inhalation devices, the validation of aerosol delivery systems for in-vivo inhalation studies, new subjects for laboratory sciences as well as for atmospheric sciences.

The AeroSolved software complements laboratory experiments and has contributed to PMI’s scientific knowledge about aerosols. The release of the simulation code was the first step towards establishing a community that builds on open software to improve models, answer new scientific questions and continue to engineer new solutions.

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