CFD and PTV steady flow investigation in an anatomically accurate abdominal aortic aneurysm

Evangelos Boutsianis, Michele Guala, Ufuk Olgac, Simon Wildermuth, Klaus Hoyer, Yiannis Ventikos, Dimos Poulikakos

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49 Scopus citations


There is considerable interest in computational and experimental flow investigations within abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). This task stipulates advanced grid generation techniques and cross-validation because of the anatomical complexity. The purpose of this study is to examine the feasibility of velocity measurements by particle tracking velocimetry (PTV) in realistic AAA models. Computed tomography and rapid prototyping were combined to digitize and construct a silicone replica of a patient-specific AAA. Three-dimensional velocity measurements were acquired using PTV under steady averaged resting boundary conditions. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations were subsequently carried out with identical boundary conditions. The computational grid was created by splitting the luminal volume into manifold and nonmanifold subsections. They were filled with tetrahedral and hexahedral elements, respectively. Grid independency was tested on three successively refined meshes. Velocity differences of about 1% in all three directions existed mainly within the AAA sack. Pressure revealed similar variations, with the sparser mesh predicting larger values. PTV velocity measurements were taken along the abdominal aorta and showed good agreement with the numerical data. The results within the aneurysm neck and sack showed average velocity variations of about 5% of the mean inlet velocity. The corresponding average differences increased for all velocity components downstream the iliac bifurcation to as much as 15%. The two domains differed slightly due to flow-induced forces acting on the silicone model. Velocity quantification through narrow branches was problematic due to decreased signal to noise ratio at the larger local velocities. Computational wall pressure and shear fields are also presented. The agreement between CFD simulations and the PTV experimental data was confirmed by three-dimensional velocity comparisons at several locations within the investigated AAA anatomy indicating the feasibility of this approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of biomechanical engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • Grid generation
  • Hemodynamics
  • Particle tracking velocimetry


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