[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: A series of numerical models are generated to investigate the flow characteristics and performance of an axial blood pump. The pump model includes a straightener, an inducer-impeller, and diffuser. Numerical studies of the effects of angular alignment of the inducer and impeller blades and the axial clearance gap between the inducer and impeller are presented in this article. The pump characteristics derived from numerical simulation are validated with experimental data. Numerically simulated results showed a sinusoidal variation in the pressure generated across the pump with changes in angular alignment between the inducer and impeller. This is attributed to additional losses when flow is forced or diverted from the trailing edge of the inducer to either the pressure or suction side of the impeller blade when the alignment between the two sets of blades is not optimal. The pressure generated is a maximum when the impeller blades are at 0 or 30 degrees with respect to the inducer. The effect of rotating the impeller with respect to the inducer causes the sinusoidal pressure variation. In addition, it was observed that when the clearance gap between the inducer and impeller is reduced to 1 mm, the pressure generated is a minimum when compared to the other models. This is attributed to the interference between the inducer and impeller when the gap separating them is too small. The location of the maximum pressure on the pressure side of the impeller blade shifts upstream while its magnitude decreases for small clearance gap between the inducer and the impeller. There was no flow separation in the inducer while small regions of backflow are observed at the impeller trailing edge. Recommendations for future modifications and improvements to the pump design and model simulation are also given.
Artificial Organs 04/2005; 29(3):250-8. · 1.96 Impact Factor