Blood is a suspension of particles of various shapes, sizes and mechanical properties and the distribution of these particles during blood flow is important in many contexts. Red blood cells (RBCs) tend to migrate toward the center of a blood vessel, leaving a so-called cell-free layer at the vessel wall, while white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets are preferentially found near the walls, a phenomenon called margination that is critical for the physiological responses of inflammation and hemostasis. Additionally, drug delivery particles in the bloodstream will also undergo segregation phenomena – the influence of these phenomena on the efficacy of such particles is unknown.
This talk describes efforts to gain a systematic understanding of flow-induced segregation phenomena in blood and other complex mixtures, using a combination of theory and direct simulations of flowing suspensions. A kinetic theory model based on pair collisions and wall-induced hydrodynamic migration can capture the key effects observed in direct simulations, including a “drainage transition” in which one component is completely depleted from the bulk of the flow. Experiments performed in the laboratory of Wilbur Lam indicate the physiological and clinical importance of these observations. More generally, having in hand an understanding of the mechanisms underlying these phenomena now allows more rational approaches to development of quantitative models of them and processes that exploit them. This knowledge will also lead to a better understanding of the consequences of these phenomena in physiology and medicine.
See more of this Group/Topical: Topical Conference: Chemical Engineers in Medicine