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Experimental validation of convection-diffusion discretisation scheme employed for computational modelling of biological mass transport

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-08-25, 10:54 authored by Gráinne Carroll, Paul D. Devereux, David N. Ku, Timothy M. McGloughlin, MICHAEL WALSHMICHAEL WALSH
Background: The finite volume solver Fluent (Lebanon, NH, USA) is a computational fluid dynamics software employed to analyse biological mass-transport in the vasculature. A principal consideration for computational modelling of blood-side mass-transport is convection-diffusion discretisation scheme selection. Due to numerous discretisation schemes available when developing a mass-transport numerical model, the results obtained should either be validated against benchmark theoretical solutions or experimentally obtained results.Methods: An idealised aneurysm model was selected for the experimental and computational mass-transport analysis of species concentration due to its well-defined recirculation region within the aneurysmal sac, allowing species concentration to vary slowly with time. The experimental results were obtained from fluid samples extracted from a glass aneurysm model, using the direct spectrophometric concentration measurement technique. The computational analysis was conducted using the four convection-diffusion discretisation schemes available to the Fluent user, including the First-Order Upwind, the Power Law, the Second-Order Upwind and the Quadratic Upstream Interpolation for Convective Kinetics (QUICK) schemes. The fluid has a diffusivity of 3.125 x 10(-10) m(2)/s in water, resulting in a Peclet number of 2,560,000, indicating strongly convection-dominated flow.Results: The discretisation scheme applied to the solution of the convection-diffusion equation, for blood-side mass-transport within the vasculature, has a significant influence on the resultant species concentration field. The First-Order Upwind and the Power Law schemes produce similar results. The Second-Order Upwind and QUICK schemes also correlate well but differ considerably from the concentration contour plots of the First-Order Upwind and Power Law schemes. The computational results were then compared to the experimental findings. An average error of 140% and 116% was demonstrated between the experimental results and those obtained from the First-Order Upwind and Power Law schemes, respectively. However, both the Second-Order upwind and QUICK schemes accurately predict species concentration under high Peclet number, convection-dominated flow conditions.Conclusion: Convection-diffusion discretisation scheme selection has a strong influence on resultant species concentration fields, as determined by CFD. Furthermore, either the Second-Order or QUICK discretisation schemes should be implemented when numerically modelling convection-dominated mass-transport conditions. Finally, care should be taken not to utilize computationally inexpensive discretisation schemes at the cost of accuracy in resultant species concentration.



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