A PIV comparison of the flow field and wall shear stress in rigid and compliant models of healthy carotid arteries

Patrick H. Geoghegan*, Mark C. Jermy, David S. Nobes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Certain systems relevant to circulatory disease have walls which are neither rigid nor static, for example, the coronary arteries, the carotid artery and the heart chambers. In vitro modeling allows the fluid mechanics of the circulatory system to be studied without the ethical and safety issues associated with animal and human experiments. Computational methods in which the equations are coupled governing the flow and the elastic walls are maturing. Currently there is a lack of experimental data in compliant arterial systems to validate the numerical predictions. Previous experimental work has commonly used rigid wall boundaries, ignoring the effect of wall compliance. Particle Image Velocimetry is used to provide a direct comparison of both the flow field and wall shear stress (WSS) observed in experimental phantoms of rigid and compliant geometries representing an idealized common carotid artery. The input flow waveform and the mechanical response of the phantom are physiologically realistic. The results show that compliance affects the velocity profile within the artery. A rigid boundary causes severe overestimation of the peak WSS with a maximum relative difference of 61% occurring; showing compliance protects the artery from exposure to high magnitude WSS. This is important when trying to understand the development of diseases like atherosclerosis. The maximum, minimum and time averaged WSS in the rigid geometry was 2.3, 0.51 and 1.03Pa and in the compliant geometry 1.4, 0.58 and 0.84Pa, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1750041
JournalJournal of Mechanics in Medicine and Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Copyright: World Scientific Publishing


  • carotid artery
  • compliant
  • PIV
  • wall shear stress


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