Volume 117, Number 6, March 2017
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics|
|Published online||12 May 2017|
When do redundant fluidic networks outperform non-redundant ones?
1 Departamento de Física y Química Teórica, Facultad de Química, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México México D.F., Mexico
2 Centro de Física da Universidade de Coimbra, Departamento de Física, Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia, Universidade de Coimbra - Coimbra, Portugal
3 Departament de Física de la Matèria Condensada, Universitat de Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain
4 Universitat de Barcelona Institute of Complex Systems (UBICS), Universitat de Barcelona - Barcelona, Spain
Received: 9 December 2016
Accepted: 25 April 2017
Redundancy constitutes a fundamental and intrinsic aspect of healthy vasculatures. Built-in redundancy might also be a desirable feature in man-made microfluidic devices. We show that redundant and non-redundant networks, built to have identical resistances to flow when unobstructed, allow for very different flows when they are occluded; redundant ones —densely occluded at a certain bifurcation level— allowing for larger flows than non-redundant ones —obstructed above relatively small thresholds. We also show that redundancy protects vessels against the large shear-rate gradients that occlusions would cause if it were not present. Our study allows one to quantify a network tolerance against blockage, provides guidance in the tailoring of microfluidic devices, and offers novel insights into why nature has selected intrinsic redundancy over thicker vessels to assure blood supply at key places of the organisms.
PACS: 47.60.Dx – Flows in ducts and channels / 47.63.-b – Biological fluid dynamics / 89.20.-a – Interdisciplinary applications of physics
© EPLA, 2017
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