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of Biophysics and Soft Matter

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Grafik: RedBloodCell_jpg

Red blood cell in capillary flow
The flow properties of blood are determined to a large extend by the presence of red blood cells, which constitute about 50% of its volume. In diseases such as diabetes mellitus, red blood cells have a reduced deformability, which enhances the flow resistance of blood. We study the deformation of red blood cells by a simulation technique, which combines a particle-based mesoscopic hydrodynamics method with a dynamically-triangulated membrane model (with shear and bending elasticity). As flow velocity increases, model red blood cells in microcirculation are found to transit from a non-axisymmetric discocyte to an axisymmetric parachute shape (coaxial with the flow axis), as shown in the figure. In contrast, a fluid vesicle (without shear elasticity) is found to transit from a discocyte to a cigar-shaped prolate ellipsoid. Both shape transitions reduce the flow resistance. Our results are in good agreement with experiments on red blood cells.

Theory of Soft Matter and Biophysics:
H. Noguchi and G. Gompper

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