The role of pulmonary surfactant is critical to the mechanics of the lung. Pulmonary surfactant forms a monolayer film at the air-liquid interface of a thin film of fluid lining the alveoli. Without surfactant, the air-liquid surface tension would be too high and the lungs would collapse during exhalation, as is the case with premature babies who develop respiratory distress syndrome (RDS) because they lack a sufficient amount of pulmonary surfactant . Because an increase in surfactant surface concentration correlates with a decrease in surface tension, the surface tension gradients resulting when a monolayer of surfactant is deposited on a thin fluid film cause the surfactant to spread. This self-spreading phenomenon is of interest for applications such as surfactant replacement therapy in infants suffering from RDS and for drug delivery [1,2].
Surfactant Spreading on a Thin Film Is Sensitive to Film Thickness: Implications for In Vivo Pulmonary Systems Versus In Vitro Scenarios
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Siebert, TA, & Rugonyi, S. "Surfactant Spreading on a Thin Film Is Sensitive to Film Thickness: Implications for In Vivo Pulmonary Systems Versus In Vitro Scenarios." Proceedings of the ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. ASME 2007 Summer Bioengineering Conference. Keystone, Colorado, USA. June 20–24, 2007. pp. 281-282. ASME. https://doi.org/10.1115/SBC2007-174065
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