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A file of red blood cells in tube flow: A three-dimensional numerical study
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The rheology of a file of red blood cells (RBCs) in a tube flow is investigated based on a three-dimensional (3D) computational model using the dissipative particle dynamics (DPD) method. The 3D model consists of a discrete RBC model to describe the RBC deformation, a Morse potential model to characterize the cell–cell interaction, and a DPD model to provide all the relevant information on the suspension flow. Three important features of the suspension flow are simulated and analyzed, (i) the effect of the tube hematocrit, (ii) the effect of the cell spacing, and (iii) the effect of the flow velocity. We first study the cell deformation and the rheology of suspension at different tube hematocrit. The results show that the cell deformation decreases with increasing tube hematocrit, and a good agreement between the simulation and available experiments is found for the discharge hematocrit and relative apparent viscosity of RBC suspension. We then analyze the effect of non-uniform cell spacing, where the cell–cell interaction goes into effect, showing that a non-uniform cell spacing has a slight effect on the cell deformation, and almost has no effect on the rheology of suspension. We finally study the effect of the flow velocity and show that a typical plug-flow velocity profile is observed. The results also show that the cell deformation increases with increasing flow velocity, as expected. The discharge hematocrit also increases, but the relative apparent viscosity decreases, with increasing flow velocity.
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