The purpose of the work presented this paper is to design a model to study experimentally and numerically a micro-Couette blood flow to obtain a constant and controlled shear rate that is a suitable environment for analysis of Red Blood Cell (RBC) aggregation. Due to the simplicity of the flow conditions, aggregate size can be related to the constant shear rate applied. This Couette flow is created by the motion of a second fluid that entrains the blood. The experimental work is coupled with 3D numerical simulations performed using a research computational fluid dynamics solver, Nek5000, based on the spectral element method, while the experiments are conducted using a micro-particle image velocimetry system. Two models of microchannels, with different dimensions, 150 × 33μm and 170 × 64μm, are fabricated in the laboratory using standard photolithography methods. The design of the channel is based on several parameters determined by the simulations. A Newtonian model is tested numerically and experimentally. Blood is then tested experimentally to be compared to the simulation results. We find that using a velocity ratio of 4 between the two Newtonian fluids, we create a flow where one third of the channel thickness is filled with the fluid destined to be blood. In the blood experiments, the velocity profile in this layer is approximately linear, resulting in the desired controlled conditions for the study of RBC aggregation.

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