Optimal branching asymmetry of hydrodynamic pulsatile trees.


Most of the studies on optimal transport are done for steady state regime conditions. Yet, there exists numerous examples in living systems where supply tree networks have to deliver products in a limited time due to the pulsatile character of the flow, as it is the case for mammalian respiration. We report here that introducing a systematic branching asymmetry allows the tree to reduce the average delivery time of the products. It simultaneously increases its robustness against the inevitable variability of sizes related to morphogenesis. We then apply this approach to the human tracheobronchial tree. We show that in this case all extremities are supplied with fresh air, provided that the asymmetry is smaller than a critical threshold which happens to match the asymmetry measured in the human lung. This could indicate that the structure is tuned at the maximum asymmetry level that allows the lung to feed all terminal units with fresh air.

Cite this paper

@article{Florens2011OptimalBA, title={Optimal branching asymmetry of hydrodynamic pulsatile trees.}, author={M. Florens and B. Sapoval and Marcel Filoche}, journal={Physical review letters}, year={2011}, volume={106 17}, pages={178104} }