The air-conditioning capacity of the human nose

Sara Naftali, Moshe Rosenfeld, Michael Wolf, David Elad*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The nose is the front line defender of the respiratory system. Unsteady simulations in three-dimensional models have been developed to study transport patterns in the human nose and its overall air-conditioning capacity. The results suggested that the healthy nose can efficiently provide about 90% of the heat and the water fluxes required to condition the ambient inspired air to near alveolar conditions in a variety of environmental conditions and independent of variations in internal structural components. The anatomical replica of the human nose showed the best performance and was able to provide 92% of the heating and 96% of the moisture needed to condition the inspired air to alveolar conditions. A detailed analysis explored the relative contribution of endonasal structural components to the air-conditioning process. During a moderate breathing effort, about 11% reduction in the efficacy of nasal air-conditioning capacity was observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)545-553
Number of pages9
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2005


FundersFunder number
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation


    • Airflow
    • Heat transfer
    • Nasal cavity
    • Water-vapor exchange


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