Research Article| Volume 27, ISSUE 5, P531-544, September 2013

Influence of Vortical Flow Structures on the Glottal Jet Location in the Supraglottal Region


      Within the fully coupled multiphysics phonation process, the fluid flow plays an important role for sound production. This study addresses phenomena in the flow downstream of synthetic self-oscillating vocal folds. An experimental setup consisting of devices for producing and conditioning the flow including the main test channel was applied. The supraglottal channel was designed to prevent an acoustic coupling to the vocal folds. Hence, the oscillations were aerodynamically driven. The cross-section of the supraglottal channel was systematically varied by increasing the distance between the lateral channel walls. The vocal folds consisted of silicone rubber of homogenous material distribution generating self-sustained oscillations. The airflow was visualized in the immediate supraglottal region using a laser-sheet technique and a digital high-speed camera. Furthermore, the flow was studied by measuring the static pressure distributions on both lateral supraglottal channel walls. The results clearly showed different flow characteristics depending on the supraglottal configuration. In all cases with supraglottal channel, the jet was located asymmetrical and bent in medial-lateral direction. Furthermore, the side to which the jet was deflected changed in between the consecutive cycles showing a bifurcational behavior. Previously, this phenomenon was explained by the Coanda effect. However, the present data suggest that the deflection of the jet was mainly caused by large air vortices in the supraglottal channel produced by the flow field of previous oscillations. In contrast, for the case without supraglottal channel, the air jet was found totally symmetrical stabilized by the constant pressure in the ambient region. The emitted sound signal showed additional subharmonic tonal peaks for the asymmetric flow cases, which are characteristics for diplophonia.

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