The Fluid Mechanics of Pulsatile Flow in the Microcirculation.

by Joseph Francis Gross, Jerry Aroesty


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Discusses pulsatile fluid flow in small blood vessels and presents a non-Newtonian model for pulsatile blood flow and a preliminary network model for a composite microcirculatory bed. Pulsatile flow in the microvessels is shown to be quasi-steady, a theoretical result that agrees with [in vitro] experiments in tubes under 100 microns diameter. A cell-deficient layer of plasma along the vessel wall appears to act as a lubricating layer increasing the flow rate; for a fixed blood yield stress, the role of the plasma layer decreases as the flow pressure gradient increases. A five-layer model of the microcirculation--small artery, arteriole, capillary, venule, small vein--gave results in general agreement with observation. Amplified to seven levels, with vasodilation and vasoconstriction, the network model was in qualitative agreement with results of [in vivo] experiments on rabbit omentum. (To appear in [Fluid Dynamics Transactions], Vol. 6, Part 2, 1972). 12 pp. Ref.

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