A nonuniform channel is used as a simple model of a constricted arterial vessel. Flow patterns have been calculated for pulsatile flow with both sinusoidal and nonsinusoidal flow rates for a range of Reynolds number, Re, and Strouhal number, St. The results show that even for relatively low frequency flows a strong vortex wave will be generated with a complex wall shear stress distribution and peak values much greater than those found in steady or unsteady parallel flow. The vortex wave increases in strength with increasing Re and St, with its total length and wavelength independent of Re but inversely proportional to St. The form of the imposed flow rate is found to have an important effect on the flow and the shear stress distribution.

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