Rheologica Acta

, Volume 55, Issue 6, pp 511–526 | Cite as

Effect of tube diameter and capillary number on platelet margination and near-wall dynamics

  • Timm Krüger
Original Contribution


I investigate the effect of tube diameter D and red blood cell capillary number C a (i.e. the ratio of viscous to elastic forces) on platelet margination in blood flow at ≈37 % tube haematocrit. The system is modelled as three-dimensional suspension of deformable red blood cells and nearly rigid platelets using a combination of the lattice-Boltzmann, immersed boundary and finite element methods. Results of simulations during the dynamics before the steady state has been reached show that a non-diffusive radial platelet transport facilitates margination. This non-diffusive effect is important near the edge of the cell-free layer, but only for C a > 0.2, when red blood cells are tank-treading. I also show that platelet trapping in the cell-free layer is reversible for C a ≤ 0.2. Margination is essentially independent of C a only for the smallest investigated tube diameter (D = 10 μm). Once platelets have reached the cell-free layer, they tend to slide rather than tumble. The tumbling rate is essentially independent of C a but increases with D. Strong confinement suppresses tumbling due to the relatively small cell-free layer thickness at ≈ 37 % tube haematocrit.


Platelet margination Red blood cell Cell-free layer Lattice-Boltzmann method Immersed boundary method Simulation 



I acknowledge the award of a Chancellor’s Fellowship from the University of Edinburgh and computer resources at Eindhoven University of Technology. I also thank the three anonymous reviewers for their constructive suggestions that led to an improved manuscript and Gary B. Davies for suggestions to improve the language. There is no conflict of interest. Figures have been created with TikZ and ParaView.


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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EngineeringThe University of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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