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J Theor Biol. 1992 Sep 21;158(2):173-93.

Leukocyte deformability: finite element modeling of large viscoelastic deformation.

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Department of Applied Mechanics and Engineering Sciences, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla 92093.


An axisymmetric deformation of a viscoelastic sphere bounded by a prestressed elastic thin shell in response to external pressure is studied by a finite element method. The research is motivated by the need for understanding the passive behavior of human leukocytes (white blood cells) and interpreting extensive experimental data in terms of the mechanical properties. The cell at rest is modeled as a sphere consisting of a cortical prestressed shell with incompressible Maxwell fluid interior. A large-strain deformation theory is developed based on the proposed model. General non-linear, large strain constitutive relations for the cortical shell are derived by neglecting the bending stiffness. A representation of the constitutive equations in the form of an integral of strain history for the incompressible Maxwell interior is used in the formulation of numerical scheme. A finite element program is developed, in which a sliding boundary condition is imposed on all contact surfaces. The mathematical model developed is applied to evaluate experimental data of pipette tests and observations of blood flow.

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