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Byron Erath

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Byron Erath
Assistant Professor
362 CAMP
Clarkson University
PO Box 5725
Potsdam, NY 13699-5725

Phone: 315-268-6584
Fax: 315-268-6695
Research Site

Educational Background
B.S., Brigham Young University
M.S., Purdue University
Ph.D., Purdue University

ME 411 - Heat Transfer

Research Interests

Dr. Erath’s research interests encompass the field of fluid mechanics, with a particular focus on the laryngeal aerodynamics of voiced speech. Voiced speech is produced by complex fluid-structure-acoustic interactions within the larynx. A more complete understanding of this nonlinear problem is critical for accurate diagnosis and treatment of vocal pathologies that disrupt the normal speech process.  Dr. Erath’s work is focused on both experimental investigations and computational modeling of the speech process.

A primary research thrust is to identify the viscous flow behavior that is produced in the unsteady, pulsatile environment of voiced speech.  This is accomplished by applying experimental fluid mechanics techniques (e.g. particle image velocimetry, laser Doppler anemometry, etc.) to capture the fluid dynamics in synthetic, life-size, self-oscillating models of the vocal folds. These measurements are performed in tandem with high-speed imagery that tracks the dynamics of the vocal fold structure. Diseased speech conditions are also replicated in order to understand the disruption of the energy-exchange process due to common vocal pathologies.

Aside from advancing knowledge of the flow physics of voiced speech, the experimental results also serve to guide the development and refinement of computational reduced-order vocal fold models. These models bridge the gap between benchtop scientific results, and physiological clinical investigations. Computational models are developed by coupling lumped-element descriptions of the structure, with a theoretical flow solver, and a wave-reflection-analog acoustical solution. Current efforts involve utilizing these techniques to develop patient-specific models that will function as surgical planning tools in the case of medialization thyroplasty for the treatment of unilateral vocal fold paralysis.

Selected Publications

[1]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “Three-dimensional laryngeal flow fields induced by a model vocal fold polyp,” International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, vol. 35, pp. 93-101, (2012).

[2]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “Impact of wall rotation on supraglottal jet stability in voiced speech.,” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 129, no. 3, pp. EL64-70, (2011).

 [3]     B. D. Erath, S. D. Peterson, M. Zañartu, G. R. Wodicka, and M. W. Plesniak, “A theoretical model of the pressure field arising from asymmetric intraglottal flows applied to a two-mass model of the vocal folds.,” The Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, vol. 130, no. 1, pp. 389-403, (2011).

[4]      B. D. Erath, M. Zañartu, S. D. Peterson, and M. W. Plesniak, “Nonlinear vocal fold dynamics resulting from asymmetric fluid loading on a two-mass model of speech.,” Chaos, vol. 21, no. 3, p. 033113, (2011).

[5]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “Viscous flow features in scaled-up physical models of normal and pathological vocal phonation,” International Journal of Heat and Fluid Flow, vol. 31, no. 3, pp. 468-481, (2010).

[6]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “An investigation of asymmetric flow features in a scaled-up driven model of the human vocal folds,” Experiments in Fluids, vol. 49, no. 1, pp. 131-146, (2010).

[7]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “An investigation of jet trajectory in flow through scaled vocal fold models with asymmetric glottal passages,” Experiments in Fluids, vol. 41, no. 5, pp. 735-748, (2006).

[8]      B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “The Occurrence of the Coanda Effect in Pulsatile Flow Through Static Models of the Human Vocal Folds,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., vol. 120, pp. 1000-1011, (2006).

[9]        B. D. Erath and M. W. Plesniak, “An investigation of bimodal jet trajectory in flow        through scaled models of the human vocal tract,” Experiments in Fluids, vol. 40, no. 5,        pp. 683-696, (2006).