Computational Models of Laryngeal Aerodynamics: Potentials and Numerical Costs

Hossein Sadeghi*, Stefan Kniesburges, Manfred Kaltenbacher, Anne Schützenberger, Michael Döllinger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human phonation is based on the interaction between tracheal airflow and laryngeal dynamics. This fluid-structure interaction is based on the energy exchange between airflow and vocal folds. Major challenges in analyzing the phonatory process in-vivo are the small dimensions and the poor accessibility of the region of interest. For improved analysis of the phonatory process, numerical simulations of the airflow and the vocal fold dynamics have been suggested. Even though most of the models reproduced the phonatory process fairly well, development of comprehensive larynx models is still a subject of research. In the context of clinical application, physiological accuracy and computational model efficiency are of great interest. In this study, a simple numerical larynx model is introduced that incorporates the laryngeal fluid flow. It is based on a synthetic experimental model with silicone vocal folds. The degree of realism was successively increased in separate computational models and each model was simulated for 10 oscillation cycles. Results show that relevant features of the laryngeal flow field, such as glottal jet deflection, develop even when applying rather simple static models with oscillating flow rates. Including further phonatory components such as vocal fold motion, mucosal wave propagation, and ventricular folds, the simulations show phonatory key features like intraglottal flow separation and increased flow rate in presence of ventricular folds. The simulation time on 100 CPU cores ranged between 25 and 290 hours, currently restricting clinical application of these models. Nevertheless, results show high potential of numerical simulations for better understanding of phonatory process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-400
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of voice
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Computational cost
  • Glottal aerodynamics
  • Human phonation
  • Large eddy simulation
  • Numerical larynx model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology
  • LPN and LVN
  • Speech and Hearing

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