Red blood cells play a major role in body metabolism by supplying oxygen from the microvasculature to different organs and tissues. Understanding blood flow properties in microcirculation is an essential step towards elucidating fundamental and practical issues. Numerical simulations of a blood model under a confined linear shear flow reveal that confinement markedly modifies the properties of blood flow. A nontrivial spatiotemporal organization of blood elements is shown to trigger hitherto unrevealed flow properties regarding the viscosity η, namely ample oscillations of its normalized value [η]=(η−η0)/(η0ϕ) as a function of hematocrit ϕ (η0=solvent viscosity). A scaling law for the viscosity as a function of hematocrit and confinement is proposed. This finding can contribute to the conception of new strategies to efficiently detect blood disorders, via in vitro diagnosis based on confined blood rheology. It also constitutes a contribution for a fundamental understanding of rheology of confined complex fluids.
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