Volume 5 (2010) Issue 4 Pages 421-436
Particle image velocimetry (PIV) and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling of blood flow through a carotid artery bifurcation has been carried out in order to assess the role of haemodynamics in atherosclerosis and validate a novel wall shear stress (WSS) measurement method via detailed quantitative data analysis. Velocity and WSS data, obtained by PIV was compared against CFD-predicted data obtained for the same geometry and boundary conditions. The results demonstrate that both methods are capable of capturing essential flow characteristics, and are in good agreement. The axial velocity data clearly show the important flow features such as skewed velocity profiles and a low-momentum region near the sinus outer wall, although with slight errors between the two techniques in the order of 6.1-13.7%. The secondary velocity plots and three-dimensional particle traces reveal complex flow features within the sinus, such as Dean vortices and helicoidal flow. WSS data obtained by both techniques reveal the presence of a low-momentum and reversed-flow regions, and show agreement with errors in the order of 1% in the common carotid artery and 0.9-9.8% in the sinus. The error sources in both the experimental and numerical methodology are discussed and recommendations for future applications are made.