Direct numerical simulation of stenotic flows. Part 2. Pulsatile flow

Sonu S. Varghese, Steven H. Frankel, Paul F. Fischer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Direct numerical simulations (DNS) of stenotic flows under conditions of steady inlet flow were discussed in Part 1 of this study. DNS of pulsatile flow through the 75% stenosed tube (by area) employed for the computations in Part 1 is examined here. Analogous to the steady flow results, DNS predicts a laminar post-stenotic flow field in the case of pulsatile flow through the axisymmetric stenosis model, in contrast to previous experiments, in which intermittent disturbed flow regions and turbulent breakdown were observed in the downstream region. The introduction of a stenosis eccentricity, that was 5% of the main vessel diameter at the throat, resulted in periodic, localized transition to turbulence. Analysis in this study indicates that the early and mid-acceleration phases of the time period cycle were relatively stable, with no turbulent activity in the post-stenotic region. However, towards the end of acceleration, the starting vortex, formed earlier as the fluid accelerated through the stenosis at the beginning of acceleration, started to break up into elongated streamwise structures. These streamwise vortices broke down at peak flow, forming a turbulent spot in the post-stenotic region. In the early part of deceleration there was intense turbulent activity within this spot. Past the mid-deceleration phase, through to minimum flow, the inlet flow lost its momentum and the flow field began to relaminarize. The start of acceleration in the following cycle saw a recurrence of the entire process of a starting structure undergoing turbulent breakdown and subsequent relaminarization of the post-stenotic flow field. Peak wall shear stress (WSS) levels occurred at the stenosis throat, with the rest of the vessel experiencing much lower levels. Turbulent breakdown at peak flow resulted in a sharp amplification of instantaneous WSS magnitudes across the region corresponding to the turbulent spot, accompanied by large axial and circumferential fluctuations, even while ensemble-averaged axial shear stresses remained mostly low and negative. WSS levels dropped rapidly after the mid-deceleration phase, when the relaminarization process took over, and were almost identical to laminar, axisymmetric shear levels through most of the acceleration phase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)281-318
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jul 10 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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