Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Dr. Tamie Poepping


Hemodynamics and shear forces are associated with pathological changes in the vascular wall and its function, resulting in the focal development of atherosclerosis. Flow complexities that develop in the presence of established plaques create environments favourable to thrombosis formation and potentially plaque rupture leading to stroke. The carotid artery bifurcation is a common site of atherosclerosis development. Recently, the multi-directional nature of shear stress acting on the endothelial layer has been highlighted as a risk factor for atherogenesis, emphasizing the need for accurate measurements of shear stress magnitude as well direction. In the absence of comprehensive patient specific datasets numerical simulations of hemodynamics are limited by modeling assumptions. The objective of this thesis was to investigate the relative contributions of various factors - including geometry, rheology, pulsatility, and compliance – towards the development of disturbed flow and multi-directional wall shear stress (WSS) parameters related to the development of atherosclerosis

An experimental stereoscopic particle image velocimetry (PIV) system was used to measure instantaneous full-field velocity in idealized asymmetrically stenosed carotid artery bifurcation models, enabling the extraction of bulk flow features and turbulence intensity (TI). The velocity data was combined with wall location information segmented from micro computed tomography (CT) to obtain phase-averaged maps of WSS magnitude and direction. A comparison between Newtonian and non-Newtonian blood-analogue fluids demonstrated that the conventional Newtonian viscosity assumption underestimates WSS magnitude while overestimating TI. Studies incorporating varying waveform pulsatility demonstrated that the levels of TI and oscillatory shear index (OSI) depend on the waveform amplitude in addition to the degree of vessel constriction. Local compliance resulted in a dampening of disturbed flow due to volumetric capacity of the upstream vessel, however wall tracking had a negligible effect on WSS prediction. While the degree of stenosis severity was found to have a dominant effect on local hemodynamics, comparable relative differences in metrics of flow and WSS disturbances were found due to viscosity model, waveform pulsatility and local vessel compliance.