A computational approach to modeling cellular-scale blood flow in complex geometry

Peter Balogh, Prosenjit Bagchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations

Abstract

We present a computational methodology for modeling cellular-scale blood flow in arbitrary and highly complex geometry. Our approach is based on immersed-boundary methods, which allow modeling flows in arbitrary geometry while resolving the large deformation and dynamics of every blood cell with high fidelity. The present methodology seamlessly integrates different modeling components dealing with stationary rigid boundaries of complex shape, moving rigid bodies, and highly deformable interfaces governed by nonlinear elasticity. Thus it enables us to simulate ‘whole’ blood suspensions flowing through physiologically realistic microvascular networks that are characterized by multiple bifurcating and merging vessels, as well as geometrically complex lab-on-chip devices. The focus of the present work is on the development of a versatile numerical technique that is able to consider deformable cells and rigid bodies flowing in three-dimensional arbitrarily complex geometries over a diverse range of scenarios. After describing the methodology, a series of validation studies are presented against analytical theory, experimental data, and previous numerical results. Then, the capability of the methodology is demonstrated by simulating flows of deformable blood cells and heterogeneous cell suspensions in both physiologically realistic microvascular networks and geometrically intricate microfluidic devices. It is shown that the methodology can predict several complex microhemodynamic phenomena observed in vascular networks and microfluidic devices. The present methodology is robust and versatile, and has the potential to scale up to very large microvascular networks at organ levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)280-307
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
Volume334
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics

Keywords

  • Blood cell
  • Cell deformation
  • Complex geometry
  • Immersed boundary methods
  • Microcirculation

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