Computational scientists are using the powerful supercomputers at the Hartree Centre to visualise how blood flows through implanted blood pumps, which prolong the lives of heart patients waiting for a donor. The work will help to reduce the number of prototypes needed for clinical testing – so saving on time, materials and costs – and potentially lead to the earlier availability of devices for patient use.
The goal of the research is to assess if using Computational Fluid Dynamics in conjunction with High Performance Computing (HPC) can increase confidence in the use of computer models to design these complex medical devices.
Working with colleagues from FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences and FZ Jülich Research Centre in Germany, and EDF R&D, the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)’s Professor David Emerson and Dr Charles Moulinec developed simulations of how a centrifugal pump would behave with blood flowing through it at different rates, and using various rotation angles.
Professor Emerson explains, “The pump has a central rotor and blades which turn, helping the blood to flow. It would take several revolutions of the blades before it gets to a quasi-steady state where the blood flows smoothly, so we looked at results obtained at between five and 15 revolutions.”
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