Efficacy of the FDA nozzle benchmark and the lattice Boltzmann method for the analysis of biomedical flows in transitional regime

Kartik Jain*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)
62 Downloads (Pure)


Flows through medical devices as well as in anatomical vessels despite being at moderate Reynolds number may exhibit transitional or even turbulent character. In order to validate numerical methods and codes used for biomedical flow computations, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established an experimental benchmark, which was a pipe with gradual contraction and sudden expansion representing a nozzle. The experimental results for various Reynolds numbers ranging from 500 to 6500 were publicly released. Previous and recent computational investigations of flow in the FDA nozzle found limitations in various CFD approaches and some even questioned the adequacy of the benchmark itself. This communication reports the results of a lattice Boltzmann method (LBM) – based direct numerical simulation (DNS) approach applied to the FDA nozzle benchmark for transitional cases of Reynolds numbers 2000 and 3500. The goal is to evaluate if a simple off the shelf LBM would predict the experimental results without the use of complex models or synthetic turbulence at the inflow. LBM computations with various spatial and temporal resolutions are performed—in the extremities of 45 million to 2.88 billion lattice cells—executed respectively on 32 CPU cores of a desktop to more than 300,000 cores of a modern supercomputer to explore and characterize miniscule flow details and quantify Kolmogorov scales. The LBM simulations transition to turbulence at a Reynolds number 2000 like the FDA’s experiments and acceptable agreement in jet breakdown locations, average velocity, shear stress, and pressure is found for both the Reynolds numbers. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1817-1830
Number of pages14
JournalMedical and Biological Engineering and Computing
Issue number8
Early online date7 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2020


  • UT-Hybrid-D
  • Hydrodynamic instability
  • Lattice Boltzmann method
  • Nozzle
  • Transitional flow
  • Turbulence
  • FDA


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