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J Biomech. 2008;41(1):47-55. Epub 2007 Sep 20.

Red blood cell aggregation and dissociation in shear flows simulated by lattice Boltzmann method.

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School of Engineering, Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ont., Canada P3E 2C6.


In this paper we develop a lattice Boltzmann algorithm to simulate red blood cell (RBC) behavior in shear flows. The immersed boundary method is employed to incorporate the fluid-membrane interaction between the flow field and deformable cells. The cell membrane is treated as a neo-Hookean viscoelastic material and a Morse potential is adopted to model the intercellular interaction. Utilizing the available mechanical properties of RBCs, multiple cells have been studied in shear flows using a two-dimensional approximation. These cells aggregate and form a rouleau under the action of intercellular interaction. The equilibrium configuration is related to the interaction strength. The end cells exhibit concave shapes under weak interaction and convex shapes under strong interaction. In shear flows, such a rouleau-like aggregate will rotate or be separated, depending on the relative strengths of the intercellular interaction and hydrodynamic viscous forces. These behaviors are qualitatively similar to experimental observations and show the potential of this numerical scheme for future studies of blood flow in microvessels.

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