Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and Discrete Element Modelling (DEM) studies relevant to inhaled drug delivery are reviewed. CFD is widely used in device design to determine airflow patterns and turbulence levels. CFD is also used to simulate particles and droplets, which are subjected to various forces, turbulence and wall interactions. These studies can now be performed routinely because of the availability of commercial software containing high quality turbulence and particle models.
DEM allows for the modelling of agglomerate break-up upon interaction with a wall or due to shear in the flow. However, the computational cost is high and the number of particles that can be simulated is minimal compared with the number present in typical inhaled formulations. Therefore DEM is currently limited to fundamental studies of break-up mechanisms.
With decreasing computational limitations, simulations combining CFD and DEM that can address outstanding issues in agglomerate break-up and dispersion will be possible.