The motion of red blood cells through capillary bifurcations

Project Details


We will perform a study of the motion of an elastic capsule through a branching tube as a model of a red blood cell passing through a bifurcation in the human capillary system. We will start with a two-dimensional model of a single fluid-filled elastic capsule passing through a channel with a
side-branch and use the boundary integral method (BIM) to study the passage and deformation of the cell under a variety of flow conditions. Next, we will develop a realistic three-dimensional model
of an axisymmetric red blood cell moving through a straight or curved bifurcating pipe, and incorporate a realistic description of the biomechanics of the red blood cell membrane. The BIM will again be used to compute the stresses and bending moments developing in the cell and the deformation of the membrane during transit through the bifurcation. The method will be extended to deal with multiple cells to yield predictions of the cell volume fraction in the daughter branches, to allow assessment of cell
aggregation, and to provide predictions of the effective blood viscosity. The results will provide much needed deeper insight into the workings of the human microcirculation which will help combat
disease and will aid in the development of synthetic blood substitutes.
Effective start/end date12/03/0711/07/10


  • Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council: £64,132.00