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Trace theorems for trees and application to the human lungs

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  • The aim of this paper is to develop a model of the respiratory system. The real bronchial tree is embedded within the parenchyma, and ventilation is caused by negative pressures at the alveolar level. We aim to describe the series of pressures at alveolae in the form of a function, and to establish a sound mathematical framework for the instantaneous ventilation process. To that end, we treat the bronchial tree as an infinite resistive tree, we endow the space of pressures at bifurcating nodes with the natural energy norm (rate of dissipated energy), and we characterise the pressure field at its boundary (i.e. set of simple paths to infinity). In a second step, we embed the infinite collection of leafs in a bounded domain Ω$\subset \RR^d$, and we establish some regularity properties for the corresponding pressure field. In particular, for the infinite counterpart of a regular, healthy lung, we show that the pressure field lies in a Sobolev space $H^{s}$(Ω), with $s \approx 0.45$. This allows us to propose a model for the ventilation process that takes the form of a boundary problem, where the role of the boundary is played by a full domain in the physical space, and the elliptic operator is defined over an infinite dyadic tree.
    Mathematics Subject Classification: 05C05, 46E35, 46E39.


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