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Title: Revisiting steady viscous flow of a generalized Newtonian fluid through a slender elastic tube using shell theory

A flow vessel with an elastic wall can deform significantly due to viscous fluid flow within it, even at vanishing Reynolds number (no fluid inertia). Deformation leads to an enhancement of throughput due to the change in cross‐sectional area. The latter gives rise to a non‐constant pressure gradient in the flow‐wise direction and, hence, to a nonlinear flow rate–pressure drop relation (unlike the Hagen–Poiseuille law for a rigid tube). Many biofluids are non‐Newtonian, and are well approximated by generalized Newtonian (say, power‐law) rheological models. Consequently, we analyze the problem of steady low Reynolds number flow of a generalized Newtonian fluid through a slender elastic tube by coupling fluid lubrication theory to a structural problem posed in terms of Donnell shell theory. A perturbative approach (in the slenderness parameter) yields analytical solutions for both the flow and the deformation. Using matched asymptotics, we obtain a uniformly valid solution for the tube's radial displacement, which features both a boundary layer and a corner layer caused by localized bending near the clamped ends. In doing so, we obtain a “generalized Hagen–Poiseuille law” for soft microtubes. We benchmark the mathematical predictions against three‐dimensional two‐way coupled direct numerical simulations (DNS) of flow and deformation performed using the commercial computational engineering platform by ANSYS. The simulations show good agreement and establish the range of validity of the theory. Finally, we discuss the implications of the theory on the problem of the flow‐induced deformation of a blood vessel, which is featured in some textbooks.

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Award ID(s):
Author(s) / Creator(s):
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
ZAMM - Journal of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics / Zeitschrift für Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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