Mechanics and computational simulation of blood flow in microvessels

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28 Scopus citations


Blood is a concentrated suspension of red blood cells (RBCs). Motion and deformation of RBCs can be analyzed based on knowledge of their mechanical characteristics. Axisymmetric models for single-file motion of RBCs in capillaries yield predictions of apparent viscosity in good agreement with experimental results for diameters up to about 8 μm. Two-dimensional simulations, in which each RBC is represented as a set of interconnected viscoelastic elements, predict that off-centre RBCs in an 8-μm channel take asymmetric shapes and drift toward the centre-line. Predicted trajectories agree with observations in microvessels of the rat mesentery. An isolated RBC initially positioned near the wall of a 20-μm channel is deformed into an asymmetric shape, migrates away from the wall, and then enters a complex tumbling motion with continuous shape change. Realistic simulation of multiple interacting RBCs in microvessels remains as a major challenge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)800-804
Number of pages5
JournalMedical Engineering and Physics
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 2011


  • Blood flow
  • Capillary
  • Microcirculation
  • Red blood cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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