Experimental studies of blood microflows in rectangular biocompatible polymer microchannels measured using micro-particle image velocimetry are reported. The data processing methods, data collection methods, and choice of channel material are demonstrated to impact the velocity profile measurements obtained. Results show that the use of red blood cells as tracer particles creates a large depth of correlation which can approach the size of the vessel itself and decrease the accuracy of the method. It is shown that changing the amount of overlap in the post-processing parameters affects the results by nearly 10%. The velocity profile is studied as a function of the flow rate of the blood, the hematocrit, or percentage of red blood cells, the shape of the channel, and the channel material. The results highlighted here show that the best processing options include pre-processing, the use of fluorescent tracer particles instead of the red blood cells themselves as tracers give a more accurate prediction of the profile, and the use of silicone as the channel material more closely mimics the behavior of physiology. Acrylic biocompatible polymer channels are shown to give a more parabolic profile at lower levels of hematocrit, while silicone biocompatible polymer channels give a velocity profile that looks more like in vivo flow studies.

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