Effect of Design on the Performance of a Dry Powder Inhaler using Computational Fluid Mechanics. Part 2: Air Inlet Size
This study investigates the effect of air inlet size on (i) the flowfield generated in a dry powder inhaler, and (ii) the device-specific resistance, and the subsequent effect on powder deagglomeration. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) analysis was used to simulate the flowfield generated in an Aerolizer® with different air inlet sizes at 30, 45, and 60 l/min. Dispersion performance of the modified inhalers was measured using mannitol powder and a multistage liquid impinger at the same flow rates. The air inlet size had a varying effect on powder dispersion depending on the flow rate. At low flow rates (30 and 45 l/min), reducing the air inlet size increased the inhaler dispersion performance by increasing the flow turbulence and particle impaction velocities above their critical levels for maximal powder dispersion. At 60 l/min, reducing the air inlet size reduced the inhaler dispersion performance by releasing a large amount of powder from the device before the turbulence levels and particle impaction velocities could be fully developed. The results demonstrate that the maximal inhaler dispersion performance can be predicted if details of the device flowfield are known.