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The Difficulty of Simulating Blood Flow
Posted Mon April 17, 2006 @03:13PM
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Application Mechanical Engineering magazine is featuring an article with researchers at Rice University who have spent years perfecting a CFD method to simulate blood flow through a blood pump. Because half of blood volume is composed of red blood cells and the rest is liquid plasma, the fluid behaves differently than air or water would.
According to Behr, "Classic mechanical engineering materials don't have a timescale. Water doesn't. But blood has all these capsules and droplets that can be stretched. The timescale is the time it takes for one of these blood cells to relax back to its shape once it's stretched."

And if the pump rotor were to shear those droplets, hemoglobin could be freed from the cells and leak into the plasma. At a particular mix, that hemoglobin in the plasma becomes toxic to the patient. The Baylor researchers wanted an application that could analyze for shear, which was obviously important to pump design.

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