Effect of Eddy Length Scale on Mechanical Loading of Blood Cells in Turbulent Flow
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Non-physiological turbulent blood flow is known to occur in and near implanted cardiovascular devices, but its effects on blood are poorly understood. The objective of this work is to investigate the effect of turbulent eddy length scale on blood cell damage, and in particular to test the hypothesis that only eddies similar in size to blood cells can cause damage. The microscale flow near a red blood cell (RBC) in an idealized turbulent eddy is modeled computationally using an immersed boundary method. The model is validated for the special case of a tank-treading RBC. In comparisons between turbulent flow fields, based on Kolmogorov theory, the model predicts that damage due to the smallest eddies is almost independent of the Kolmogorov length scale. The model predicts that within a given flow field, however, eddies of sub-cellular scale are less damaging than larger eddies. Eddy decay time and the turbulent energy spectral density are highlighted as important factors. The results suggest that Kolmogorov scale is not an adequate predictor of flow-induced blood trauma, and highlights the need for deeper understanding of the microscale structure of turbulent blood flow.
KeywordsTurbulent blood flow Thrombosis Hemolysis Red blood cell Immersed boundary method
Patrick N. Dooley gratefully acknowledges the support of the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology, funded by the National Development Plan.
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