The voice plays a vital role in human communication. The purpose of voice research is to advance the understanding of voice production physics, with the ultimate goal of leading to improved voice care. In this research computational and synthetic vocal fold models were used to explore the role of subglottal geometry in vocal fold vibration. Three specific studies were performed. First, the effect of the inferior vocal fold surface angle on voice production was investigated using a two-dimensional self-oscillating finite element vocal fold model. Varying the inferior angle resulted in significant changes to model vibratory motion, glottal width, flow rate, and energy transfer. The changes were attributed primarily to changes in structural, rather than aerodynamic, factors. Second, subglottic stenosis (SGS) was introduced and parametrically varied in a similar computational model to determine the influence of SGS on vocal fold vibration. High severities of SGS influenced several factors related to vibration, including glottal width, flow rate, flow resistance, and vibration frequency. Subglottal pressure distributions and flow patterns were also affected. Third, the response of a self-oscillating silicone vocal fold model to varying degrees of SGS in an experimental setup was studied. Consistent with the computational SGS study, SGS had an effect on the synthetic model response at high severities. Changes were seen particularly in subglottal pressure and radiated acoustic sound, and consequently glottal efficiency, which may have important implications regarding the effect of SGS on the human voice.



College and Department

Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology; Mechanical Engineering



Date Submitted


Document Type





vocal folds, vocal fold modeling, subglottis, inferior surface angle, subglottic stenosis, Simeon L. Smith