ANSYS-MATLAB co-simulation of mucus flow distribution and clearance effectiveness of a new simulated cough device

Shuai Ren, Yan Shi, Maolin Cai, Hongmei Zhao, Zhaozhi Zhang, Xiaohua Douglas Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Coughing is an irritable reaction that protects the respiratory system from infection and improves mucus clearance. However, for the patients who cannot cough autonomously, an assisted cough device is essential for mucus clearance. Considering the low efficiency of current assisted cough devices, a new simulated cough device based on the pneumatic system is proposed in this paper. Given the uncertainty of airflow rates necessary to clear mucus from airways, the computational fluid dynamics Eulerian wall film model and cough efficiency (CE) were used in this study to simulate the cough process and evaluate cough effectiveness. The Ansys-Matlab co-simulation model was set up and verified through experimental studies using Newtonian fluids. Next, model simulations were performed using non-Newtonian fluids, and peak cough flow (PCF) and PCF duration time were analyzed to determine their influence on mucus clearance. CE growth rate (λ) was calculated to reflect the CE variation trend. From the numerical simulation results, we find that CE rises as PCF increases while the growth rate trends to slow as PCF increases; when PCF changes from 60 to 360 L/min, CE changes from 3.2% to 51.5% which is approximately 16 times the initial value. Meanwhile, keeping a long PCF duration time could greatly improve CE under the same cough expired volume and PCF. The results indicated that increasing the PCF and PCF duration time can improve the efficiency of mucus clearance. This paper provides a new approach and a research direction for control strategy in simulated cough devices for airway mucus clearance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2978
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2018 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


  • CFD simulation
  • clearance effectiveness
  • flow distribution
  • mucus clearance
  • simulated cough

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Molecular Biology
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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