The flow field in the respiratory and vascular system is known to be influenced by the flexibility of the walls. However, up to now, most of the experimental biofluidic investigations have been performed in rigid models due to the complexity and necessity of optical access. In this paper, a facility and measurement techniques for studying oscillating and pulsatile flow in elastic vessels will be described. The investigated vessel models have been adapted such that fluid-mechanical and structure-mechanical characteristics represent realistic blood flows in medium blood vessels. That is, characteristic parameters, i.e., the Reynolds and Womersley number, as well as mechanical properties of the flexible wall, i.e., the Young’s modulus and the material compliance, have been chosen to reasonably represent realistic flow conditions. First, a method to manufacture elastic models, which mimic the structure-mechanical properties of vascular vessels is described. The models possess a tunable compliance and are made of transparent polydimethylsiloxane. Second, the experimental setup of the flow facility will be elucidated. The flow facility allows to mimic pulsatile flow at physiologically relevant Reynolds and Womersley numbers. The precise form of the flow cycle can individually be controlled. Water/glycerine is used as flow medium for refractive index matching particle image velocimetry (PIV) measurements. The PIV recordings not only allow to assess the mean cross-sectional flow field but also further enable to simultaneously detect the movement of the flexible wall. Additionally, the local wall-shear stress can be obtained from the single-pixel line resolved near-wall flow field. To confirm the flow conditions of the oscillatory laminar flow inside the flow facility and to evaluate the ability to assess the flow field, measurements in a straight, uniform diameter, rigid Plexiglas pipe under identical conditions to those of the oscillating flow in the flexible vessel have been performed. The measurements of oscillating flow in the rigid pipe corroborate the experimentally obtained flow field and the wall-shear stress to well confirm Womersley’s analytical solution and thereby evidence the quality of the flow facility and of the measurement techniques. To further study the detectability of the vessel deformation, oscillating flow at Reynolds numbers based on the non-dilated vessel diameter D and peak velocities Re D ranging from 1,000 to 1,750 and at Womersley numbers α ranging from 5 to 17.5 has been investigated in an elastic vessel.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: May 23, 2009
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