Experimental Approach to Visualize Flow in a Stacked Hollow Fiber Bundle of an Artificial Lung With Particle Image Velocimetry

Andreas Kaesler*, Peter C. Schlanstein, Felix Hesselmann, Martin Büsen, Michael Klaas, Dorothee Roggenkamp, Thomas Schmitz-Rode, Ulrich Steinseifer, Jutta Arens

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Flow distribution is key in artificial lungs, as it directly influences gas exchange performance as well as clot forming and blood damaging potential. The current state of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in artificial lungs can only give insight on a macroscopic level due to model simplification applied to the fiber bundle. Based on our recent work on wound fiber bundles, we applied particle image velocimetry (PIV) to the model of an artificial lung prototype intended for neonatal use to visualize flow distribution in a stacked fiber bundle configuration to (i) evaluate the feasibility of PIV for artificial lungs, (ii) validate CFD in the fiber bundle of artificial lungs, and (iii) give a suggestion how to incorporate microscopic aspects into mainly macroscopic CFD studies. To this end, we built a fully transparent model of an artificial lung prototype. To increase spatial resolution, we scaled up the model by a factor of 5.8 compared with the original size. Similitude theory was applied to ensure comparability of the flow distribution between the device of original size and the scaled-up model. We focused our flow investigation on an area (20 × 70 × 43 mm) in a corner of the model with a Stereo-PIV setup. PIV data was compared to CFD data of the original sized artificial lung. From experimental PIV data, we were able to show local flow acceleration and declaration in the fiber bundle and meandering flow around individual fibers, which is not possible using state-of-the-art macroscopic CFD simulations. Our findings are applicable to clinically used artificial lungs with a similar stacked fiber arrangement (e.g., Novalung iLa and Maquet QUADROX-I). With respect to some limitations, we found PIV to be a feasible experimental flow visualization technique to investigate blood-sided flow in the stacked fiber arrangement of artificial lungs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-538
Number of pages10
JournalArtificial organs
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Particle image velocimetry
  • Artificial lung
  • Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • Experimental flow visualization
  • Hollow fiber membrane
  • Oxygenator
  • Porous media
  • Stacked fiber configuration


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