Controlling the Flow Separation in Heart Valves Using Vortex Generators

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Department of Biomedical Engineering


A comprehensive computational study is performed to investigate the effectiveness of vortex generators (VGs) applied to mechanical bi-leaflet heart valves. Co-rotating and counter-rotating VG configurations are compared to a control valve without VGs. Detailed flow fields are obtained and used to elucidate the underlying flow physics. It was found that VGs reduce flow separation over the leaflets and hence reduce the Reynolds shear stress (RSS) in the vicinity regions of heart valve. The co-rotating VG configuration demonstrates a better performance compared with the counter-rotating configuration in terms of the RSS, turbulent kinetic energy production and velocity distributions, especially in the peripheral jet flows. The fraction of blood damage in the co-rotating configuration shows a 4.7% reduction in comparison to the control case, while a 3.7% increase is observed in the counter-rotating configuration. The passive flow control technique of applying co-rotating VG illustrates a great potential to help mitigate the hemodynamic factors leading to potential blood damage risk.

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Annals of Biomedical Engineering