Digital particle image velocimetry is employed to study turbulent flow through a bileaflet mechanical heart valve during systolic phase of a cardiac cycle. Unsteady vortex shedding from the valve’s leaflets displays distinct characteristic frequencies, depending on the opening angle of each leaflet. Small- and large-scale transverse oscillations of the separated shear layers are studied using global quantitative flow imaging approach. Turbulent flow structures including jet-like regions and shed vortices are characterized in terms of patterns of instantaneous and time-averaged velocity, vorticity, and turbulence statistics.

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