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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
- Statistics and Probability
- Condensed Matter Physics