Coarse-grained red blood cell model with accurate mechanical properties, rheology and dynamics
ABSTRACT We present a coarse-grained red blood cell (RBC) model with accurate and realistic mechanical properties, rheology and dynamics. The modeled membrane is represented by a triangular mesh which incorporates shear inplane energy, bending energy, and area and volume conservation constraints. The macroscopic membrane elastic properties are imposed through semi-analytic theory, and are matched with those obtained in optical tweezers stretching experiments. Rheological measurements characterized by time-dependent complex modulus are extracted from the membrane thermal fluctuations, and compared with those obtained from the optical magnetic twisting cytometry results. The results allow us to define a meaningful characteristic time of the membrane. The dynamics of RBCs observed in shear flow suggests that a purely elastic model for the RBC membrane is not appropriate, and therefore a viscoelastic model is required. The set of proposed analyses and numerical tests can be used as a complete model testbed in order to calibrate the modeled viscoelastic membranes to accurately represent RBCs in health and disease.