Two-dimensional simulation of red blood cell motion near a wall under a lateral force

Daniel S. Hariprasad, Timothy W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


The motion of a red blood cell suspended in a linear shear flow adjacent to a fixed boundary subject to an applied lateral force directed toward the boundary is simulated. A two-dimensional model is used that represents the viscous and elastic properties of normal red blood cells. Shear rates in the range of 100 to 600 s-1 are considered, and the suspending medium viscosity is 1 cP. In the absence of a lateral force, the cell executes a tumbling motion. With increasing lateral force, a transition from tumbling to tank-treading is predicted. The minimum force required to ensure tank-treading increases nonlinearly with the shear rate. Transient swinging motions occur when the force is slightly larger than the transition value. The applied lateral force is balanced by a hydrodynamic lift force resulting from the positive orientation of the long axis of the cell with respect to the wall. In the case of cyclic tumbling motions, the orientation angle takes positive values through most of the cycle, resulting in lift generation. These results are used to predict the motion of a cell close to the outer edge of the cell-rich core region that is generated when blood flows in a narrow tube. In this case, the lateral force is generated by shear-induced dispersion, resulting from cell-cell interactions in a region with a concentration gradient. This force is estimated using previous data on shear-induced dispersion. The cell is predicted to execute tank-treading motions at normal physiological hematocrit levels, with the possibility of tumbling at lower hematocrit levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number053014
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 24 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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