A numerical study of the flow-induced vibration characteristics of a voice-producing element for laryngectomized patients

S.L. Thomson*, J.W. Tack, G.J. Verkerke

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)
    4 Downloads (Pure)


    A computational model for exploring the design of a voice-producing voice prosthesis, or voice-producing element (VPE), is presented. The VPE is intended for use by laryngectomized patients who cannot benefit from current speech rehabilitation techniques. Previous experiments have focused on the design of a double-membrane voice generator as a VPE. For optimization studies, a numerical model has been developed. The numerical model introduced incorporates the finite element (FE) method to solve for the flow-induced vibrations of the VPE system, including airflow coupled with a mass-loaded membrane. The FE model includes distinct but coupled fluid and solid domains. The flow solver is governed by the incompressible, laminar, unsteady Navier-Stokes equations. The solid solver allows for large deformation, large strain, and collision. It is first shown that the model satisfactorily represents previously published experimental results in terms of frequency and flow rate, enabling the model for use as a design tool. The model is then used to study the influence of geometric scaling, membrane thickness, membrane stiffness, and slightly convergent or divergent channel geometry on the model response. It is shown that physiological allowable changes in the latter three device parameters alone will not be sufficient to generate the desired reduction in fundamental frequency. However, their effects are quantified and it is shown that membrane stiffness and included angle should be considered in future designs.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3598-3606
    Number of pages9
    JournalJournal of biomechanics
    Issue number16
    Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2007


    • Finite element model
    • Flow-induced vibrations
    • Total laryngectomy
    • Voice prosthesis
    • Voice-producing element


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