Diffusion


Diffusion is the primary mechanism of deposition for particles less than 0.5 microns in diameter and is governed by geometric rather than aerodynamic size. Diffusion is the net transport of particles from a region of high concentration to a region of lower concentration due to Brownian motion. Brownian motion is the random wiggling motion of a particle due to the constant bombardment of air molecules. Diffusional deposition occurs mostly when the particles have just entered the nasopharynx, and is also most likely to occur in the smaller airways of the pulmonary(alveolar) region, where air flow is low.

The following figure demonstrates the diffusional deposition of small particles in the pulmonary region of the lung.


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