Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD)
Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) are simply flow simulations that are based on Mathematical equations. I am not claiming to be an expert in the Navier-Stokes governing equations. I took several courses that discussed the derivations (with different assumptions) and what each component means. It is interesting because the NS equation were not adequately solveable until the 'computer' age. My Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics, Professor K.B. Chandran pointed out the intricacies/difficulties of derivation (including some painful derivations on exams).
The components of a 3D flow simulation involve a surface mesh (2D), a volumetric mesh (3D) and boundary conditions (wall, velocity-inlet and pressure outlets and a whole host of other parameters). We aren't just after pretty pictures and animations, but what the 'numbers' mean.
Post-Processing of various indices is the most important step in interpreting the results. Are we looking for flow drops, turbulence, wall-shear stress, pressure drops, vortices, flow re-circulation? There is a whole suite of output variables that we have access to in ANSYS FLUENT.
With that said, I have enjoyed implementing simulations that have 'real-world' implications. I don't claim to be a master at CFD, but I try my best to ensure that the assumptions we make are acceptable. This has opened the door to projects that I would never have been involved with.
Neonatal Hypoplastic Arch
This is a cardiovascular disease found in infants that affects the blood flow by a severe narrowing in the aortic arch. The current repair method is shown (from the Oxford Journal). Here is a brief description of the procedure:
A - Preoperative geometry. The narrowing of the aortic arch is evident.
B - Cardio-thoracic surgeon will cut on the dotted lines.
C - F: The descending aorta is free to move in its new location closer to the ascending aorta. The surgeon will suture the two pieces together. The new geometry of the ascending aorta/descending aorta is shown in 'F'. The arch resembles a gothic arch.
We had a pediatric cardiology 3rd year Fellow by the name of Dr. Govinda Paudel who has now finished his 4th year at the Mayo Clinic. While he was researching in our lab, he came up with an idea to investigate a congenital disease known as the Tetrology of Fallot (TOF) using computational models.
TOF is a heart defect that features four problems (AHA)
Often times a surgeon will elect to repair a stenosis (a narrowing of the blood vessel) in the left or right pulmonary artery (LPA and RPA). However, the treatment may not alleviate the blood flow problem due to a high lung resistance. The blood flow will start to flow backwards or start to 'regurgitate' in either the LPA or RPA if this is the case.
The 'big' idea was to create an idealized computational fluid dynamics simulation that investigates the relationship between stenosis and vascular resistance. I helped put a computational model together that had physiological vascular lung resistance simulated by using porous media. We tweaked the stenosis (0%, 25%, 50% and 75%) while adjusting the vascular resistance (1x, 2x, 3x, 4x, and 5x normal vascular resistance).
We are hoping to put together a chart that a physician could use to determine if it is more likely that the poor blood flow is due to the stenosis or a high vascular resistance.
As of now we have a paper in the word work and couple of abstracts, I'll update this page as we continue to be updated on our progress. There is more left to do!