Computational fluid dynamics of gap flow in a biocentrifugal blood pump

L.P. Chua, G. Song, Ching Man Yu, T.M. Lim

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


The centrifugal blood pump with a magnetically suspended impeller has shown its superiority as compared to other artificial heart pumps. However, there is still insufficient understanding of fluid mechanics related issues in the clearance gap. The design nature of the pump requires sufficient washout in the clearance between the impeller and the stationary pump housing inner surface. In this study, numerical simulations were carried out to investigate the flow fields in the gap of the Kyoto-NTN centrifugal blood pump. The flow patterns in the gap region of the blood pump were presented and regions of high and low velocity were identified. It was found that the radial velocity of the blood in the gap was closely related to the pressure distribution at the exit of the impeller, both the highest pressure gradient and the highest radial velocity in the gap occurred at an angular position of 170°. The mass flow rate in the gap was estimated to be 25.2% of the pump outflow, which is close to the measurement results of a five times enlarged test pump. The wall shear stresses on the gap surface were found to be over 21 Pa and below 300 Pa, which is correspondingly higher than the threshold of thrombi formation and is lower than the shearing threshold of red blood cells. Comparison of the 1 :1 simulation model with the measurement results on a five times enlarged test pump indicates that there are some differences in the resulting radial velocity distributions in the gap and thus the washout mechanism. Two symmetrical high washout regions at both the cutwater and splitter plate were observed in the simulation instead of a single washout region at the splitter plate found in the experimental study. This may be due to the scaling effect of the enlarged test pump; also the medium used in the experiment is different from the simulation. © 2005 International Center for Artificial organs and Transplantation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-628
Number of pages9
JournalArtificial Organs
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Centrifugal blood pump
  • Gap flow
  • Simulation
  • Washout mechanism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering

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