Finite-Discrete Element Method Simulations of Colliding Red Blood Cells
Solares, Santiago D
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The implantation of artificial heart valves can lead to a large decline in red blood cell life. There has been much research in the last few years dedicated to understanding the cause of this decline. One theory states that collisions at large velocity can lead to spontaneous hemolysis which leads to the premature recycling of cells by the body. Currently, there is no suitable method for modeling the complex intersection interaction of blood cells in a computer code. The Finite-Discrete Element Method (FDEM) is a relatively new computer modeling technique that seeks to combine modeling of continuum-based deformability and discontinuum based motion and element interaction. This thesis utilizes FDEM to model the collision of erythrocytes with other erythrocytes. A method of approximating volume of arbitrary discrete element meshes is proposed and tested for general colliding bodies for accuracy. Red Blood cell simulations are presented with experimentally verifiable data to allow for validation of the model. Future steps are presented for further development of themodel for more specialized applications, such as sedimentation and resting contact. The volume-based FDEM method appears to recreate reasonable results for colliding deformable bodies.