Current goals in the development of oxygenators are to reduce extrinsic surface contact area, thrombus formation, hemolysis, and priming volume. To achieve these goals and provide a favorable concentration gradient for the gas exchange throughout the fiber bundle, this study attempts to find an optimized inlet and outlet port geometry to guide the flow of a hexagonal-shaped oxygenator currently under development. Parameters derived from numerical flow simulations allowed an automated quantitative evaluation of geometry changes of flow distribution plates. This led to a practical assessment of the quality of the flow. The results were validated qualitatively by comparison to flow visualization results. Two parameters were investigated, the first based on the velocity distribution and the second calculated from the residence time of massless particles representing erythrocytes. Both approaches showed significant potential to improve the flow pattern in the fiber bundle, based on one of the parameters of up to 66%. Computational fluid dynamics combined with a parameterization proved to be a powerful tool to quickly improve oxygenator designs.
- Computational fluid dynamics
- Inlet/outlet port design