Improved computational fluid dynamic simulations of blood flow in membrane oxygenators from x-ray imaging

Cameron C. Jones, James M. McDonough, Patrizio Capasso, Dongfang Wang, Kyle S. Rosenstein, Joseph B. Zwischenberger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (SciVal)


Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is a useful tool in characterizing artificial lung designs by providing predictions of device performance through analyses of pressure distribution, perfusion dynamics, and gas transport properties. Validation of numerical results in membrane oxygenators has been predominantly based on experimental pressure measurements with little emphasis placed on confirmation of the velocity fields due to opacity of the fiber membrane and limitations of optical velocimetric methods. Biplane X-ray digital subtraction angiography was used to visualize flow of a blood analogue through a commercial membrane oxygenator at 1-4.5 L/min. Permeability and inertial coefficients of the Ergun equation were experimentally determined to be 180 and 2.4, respectively. Numerical simulations treating the fiber bundle as a single momentum sink according to the Ergun equation accurately predicted pressure losses across the fiber membrane, but significantly underestimated velocity magnitudes in the fiber bundle. A scaling constant was incorporated into the numerical porosity and reduced the average difference between experimental and numerical values in the porous media regions from 44 ± 4% to 6 ± 5%.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2088-2098
Number of pages11
JournalAnnals of Biomedical Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Artificial Lung
  • CFD
  • Ergun equation
  • Navier-Stokes equations
  • Porous media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering


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