Numerical simulation of flow, heat and moisture transfer in heat and moisture exchanger (HME) devices

Seyed Pezhman Payami, Masud Behnia, Barry Dixon, John Santamaria, Mehrdad Behnia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


Heat and Moisture Exchanger (HME) is a simple solution to the problems of warming and humidification of inspired gases during ventilator treatment. The device acts as an "artificial" nose or passive humidifier, added to the breathing circuit to retain and exchange heat and moisture between inspiration and expiration. The HME traps expiratory heat and moisture from patient's exhaled breath in a porous medium and returns a portion of them through the subsequent inspiratory cycle. The aim of our paper is to develop a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of an HME device commonly used in anaesthesia and intensive care. The CFD results allow a better understanding of flow behaviour leading to the design of more efficient devices. The CFD model solves the gas flow, heat and mass transfer equations in a DAR Hygrobac S (Mallinckrodt DAR, Mirandola, Italy). The temperature, absolute humidity and pressure fields are obtained during expiratory phase to evaluate heat and moisture conserving efficiencies and air flow resistance. The effect of flow rate as one of the major parameters in ventilator setting on temperature, humidity and pressure drop is determined. Inside the HME device, areas of recirculation are observed. As the flow rate increases the output temperature and absolute humidity go up causing a reduction in heat and moisture conserving capacities. Comparison of the CFD results with previously obtained experimental data shows a satisfactory agreement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Computational Mechanics
PublisherTrans Tech Publications
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9783038350682
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event1st Australasian Conference on Computational Mechanics, ACCM 2013 - Sydney, NSW, Australia
Duration: Oct 3 2013Oct 4 2013

Publication series

NameApplied Mechanics and Materials
ISSN (Print)1660-9336
ISSN (Electronic)1662-7482


Conference1st Australasian Conference on Computational Mechanics, ACCM 2013
CitySydney, NSW


  • Air flow
  • Heat and moisture conserving efficiencies
  • Heat and moisture exchanger
  • Numerical simulation
  • Resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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