Flow Characterization in Wave Bioreactors Using Computational Fluid Dynamics

  • Alper A. Öncül
  • Yvonne Genzel
  • Udo Reichl
  • Dominique Thévenin
Conference paper
Part of the ESACT Proceedings book series (ESACT, volume 5)


Quantifying and optimizing the flow conditions in cultivation systems is essential for successful cell growth in major biotechnological applications, like vaccine production processes. Recently, disposable wave bioreactors have been proposed for manufacturing of biologics, leading to markedly different mixing properties compared to stirred tank reactors, i.e. lower shear stress. To describe accurately the conditions in wave bioreactors using numerical simulations, it is first necessary to compute the unsteady flow employing Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD). Simultaneously, the Volume of Fluid (VOF) method is employed to simulate motion of the free liquid surface. Experimental measurements have been carried out in order to determine liquid surface height, flow velocity and shear stress, which are used as a validation of CFD simulations. The obtained results confirmed low shear stress levels, well below known threshold values leading to cell damage. Recent simulations take additionally into account microcarriers through Population Balance Model (PBM), needed for adherent cell growth.


Computational Fluid Dynamics Wall Shear Stress Computational Fluid Dynamics Simulation Liquid Velocity Computational Fluid Dynamics Code 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



local liquid surface height, mm


time, s


component of the liquid velocity along the direction of rotation, m/s

Greek letters


liquid shear stress, Pa


maximum shear stress, Pa


wall shear stress, Pa



Computational Fluid Dynamics


Direct Quadrature Method of Moments


Madine Darby Canine Kidney


Population Balance Model


Polyethylene Terephthalate


Volume of Fluid



The support of Andreas Kalmbach for the experimental work presented here is gratefully acknowledged. The authors thank Dr. Gábor Janiga for his assistance and helpful discussions. The capacitive probes have been produced by Dirk Meinecke at the Institut für Strömungstechnik und Thermodynamik. The financial support of the Excellence Programme of the state Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) concerning “Dynamic Systems in Biology, Medicine, and Process Engineering” is gratefully acknowledged (Project number: XD3639HP/0306). Special thanks go to Christine Lettenbauer from Wave Biotech AG for her cooperation during the special preparation of the cellbags. The authors would finally like to acknowledge the effective support of the Fraunhofer-Institut für Fabrikbetrieb und -automatisierung (IFF Magdeburg, Germany) concerning the measurement of the exact bag geometry using the laser measuring technique “OptoInspect 3D-Flex”.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alper A. Öncül
    • 1
  • Yvonne Genzel
    • 2
  • Udo Reichl
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Dominique Thévenin
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Fluid Dynamics and Technical Flows (ISUT/LSS)University of Magdeburg “Otto von Guericke”MagdeburgGermany
  2. 2.Bioprocess Engineering GroupMax Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical SystemsMagdeburgGermany
  3. 3.Lehrstuhl für BioprozesstechnikOtto-von-Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany
  4. 4.Bioprocess EngineeringOtto von Guericke University MagdeburgMagdeburgGermany

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