Fluid-dynamic flapping of a collapsible channel: Sound generation and flow limitation

J. B. Grotberg*, Stephen H Davis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A flattened airway is mathematically modelled by an inviscid, incompressible fluid flowing through an infinite, two-dimensional, flexible channel. The allowed flapping frequencies of stable oscillations are determined for infinitesimal disturbances to a steady flow. Furthermore, the onset of flutter is determined. The occurrence of a type of flow limitation in collapsible conduits is found to be associated with zero-velocity upstream waves and energy fluxes. Conditions of flow limitation and stability are compared with and contrasted to previous steady models of one-dimensional, massless tubes. The vibrations are implicated with the occurrence of wheezing and physiological correlations in the lung are discussed in terms of parameter changes, both normal and pathological, that influence stable and unstable oscillations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-230
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomechanics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Rehabilitation


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