SPH-DEM approach to numerically simulate the deformation of three‑dimensional RBCs in non‑uniform capillaries

Polwaththe-Gallage, Hasitha-Nayanajith and Saha, Suvash C. and Sauret, Emily and Flower, Robert and Senadeera, Wijitha and Gu, YuanTong (2016) SPH-DEM approach to numerically simulate the deformation of three‑dimensional RBCs in non‑uniform capillaries. BioMedical Engineering OnLine, 15 (Suppl 2:161). pp. 349-370.

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Background: Blood continuously flows through the blood vessels in the human body. When blood flows through the smallest blood vessels, red blood cells (RBCs) in the blood exhibit various types of motion and deformed shapes. Computational modeling techniques can be used to successfully predict the behaviour of the RBCs in capillaries. In this study, we report the application of a meshfree particle approach to model and predict the motion and deformation of three-dimensional RBCs in capillaries.

Methods: An elastic spring network based on the discrete element method (DEM) is employed to model the three-dimensional RBC membrane. The haemoglobin in the RBC and the plasma in the blood are modelled as smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) particles. For validation purposes, the behaviour of a single RBC in a simple shear flow is examined and compared against experimental results. Then simulations are carried out to predict the behaviour of RBCs in a capillary; (i) the motion of five identical RBCs in a uniform capillary, (ii) the motion of five identical RBCs with different bending stiffness (Kb) values in a stenosed capillary, (iii) the motion of three RBCs in a narrow capillary. Finally five identical RBCs are employed to determine the critical diameter of a stenosed capillary.

Results: Validation results showed a good agreement with less than 10% difference.From the above simulations, the following results are obtained; (i) RBCs exhibit different deformation behaviours due to the hydrodynamic interaction between them.(ii) Asymmetrical deformation behaviours of the RBCs are clearly observed when the bending stiffness (Kb) of the RBCs is changed. (iii) The model predicts the ability of the RBCs to squeeze through smaller blood vessels. Finally, from the simulations, the critical diameter of the stenosed section to stop the motion of blood flow is predicted.

Conclusions: A three-dimensional spring network model based on DEM in combination with the SPH method is successfully used to model the motion and deformation of RBCs in capillaries. Simulation results reveal that the condition of blood flow stopping depends on the pressure gradient of the capillary and the severity of stenosis of the capillary. In addition, this model is capable of predicting the critical diameter which prevents motion of RBCs for different blood pressures.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: This is an open access journal that is found at: http://biomedical-engineering-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12938-016-0256-0
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering
Date Deposited: 22 Feb 2017 07:19
Last Modified: 08 Feb 2018 00:37
Uncontrolled Keywords: blood flow, computational biomechanics, critical diameter, discrete element method, meshfree method, multiple red blood cells, smoothed particle hydrodynamics
Fields of Research : 09 Engineering > 0915 Interdisciplinary Engineering > 091501 Computational Fluid Dynamics
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970109 Expanding Knowledge in Engineering
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1186/s12938-016-0256-0
URI: http://eprints.usq.edu.au/id/eprint/30522

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