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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Oct 4;102(40):14159-64. Epub 2005 Sep 26.

Shape transitions of fluid vesicles and red blood cells in capillary flows.

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  • 1Institut für Festkörperforschung, Forschungszentrum Jülich, 52425 Jülich, Germany. hi.noguchi@fz-juelich.de

Abstract

The dynamics of fluid vesicles and red blood cells (RBCs) in cylindrical capillary flow is studied by using a three-dimensional mesoscopic simulation approach. As flow velocity increases, a model RBC is found to transit from a nonaxisymmetric discocyteto an axisymmetric parachute shape (coaxial with the flow axis), while a fluid vesicle is found to transit from a discocyte to a prolate ellipsoid. Both shape transitions reduce the flow resistance. The critical velocities of the shape transitions are linearly dependent on the bending rigidity and on the shear modulus of the membrane. Slipper-like shapes of the RBC model are observed around the transition velocities. Our results are in good agreement with experiments on RBCs.

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