Interception occurs when a particle contacts an airway surface due to its physical size or shape. Unlike impaction, particles that are deposited by interception do not deviate from their air streamlines. Interception is most likely to occur in small airways or when the air streamline is close to an airway wall. Interception is most significant for fibers, which easily contact airway surfaces do to their length. Furthermore, fibers have small aerodynamic diameters relative to their size, so they can often reach the smallest airways.
The following figure demonstrates the interception of a long fiber on the wall of a bronchus. The arrow-tipped line represents an airflow streamline.