Irregular dynamics of cellular blood flow in a model microvessel

Spencer H. Bryngelson, Florimond Guéniat, Jonathan B. Freund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The flow of red blood cells within cylindrical vessels is complex and irregular, so long as the vessel diameter is somewhat larger than the nominal cell size. Long-time-series simulations, in which cells flow 105 vessel diameters, are used to characterize the chaotic kinematics, particularly to inform reduced-order models. The simulation model used includes full coupling between the elastic red blood cell membranes and surrounding viscous fluid, providing a faithful representation of the cell-scale dynamics. Results show that the flow has neither classifiable recurrent features nor a dominant frequency. Instead, its kinematics are sensitive to the initial flow configuration in a way consistent with chaos and Lagrangian turbulence. Phase-space reconstructions show that a low-dimensional attractor does not exist, so the observed long-time dynamics are effectively stochastic. Based on this, a simple Markov chain model for the dynamics is introduced and shown to reproduce the statistics of the cell positions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number012203
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 8 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

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