Optimization of Axial Pump Characteristic Dimensions and Induced Hemolysis for Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices

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The application of axial pumps as ventricular assist devices (VADs) requires significant modifications to the size and characteristics of industrial pumps due to the difference in flow fields of industrial and medical pumps. Industrial pumps operate in the region of Reynolds number Re = 108, whereas axial blood pumps operate in Re < 106. The common pump design technique is to rely on the performance of previously designed pumps using the concept of fluid dynamic similarity. Such data are available for industrial pumps as specific speed-specific diameter (nsds) graphs. The difference between the flow fields of industrial and medical pumps makes the industrial nsds graphs unsuitable for medical pumps and consequently several clinically available axial blood pumps operate with low efficiencies. In this article, numerical and experimental techniques were used to design 62 axial pump impellers with different design characteristics suitable for VADs and mechanical circulatory support devices (MCSDs). The impellers were manufactured and experimentally tested in various operating conditions of flow, pressure, and rotational speed. The hemocompatibility of the impellers was numerically investigated by modeling shear stress and hemolysis. The highest efficiency of each pump impeller was plotted on an nsds diagram. The nondimensional results presented in this article enable preliminary design of efficient and hemocompatible axial flow pumps for VADs and MCSDs.

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