A reduced-order model for deformable particles with application in bio-microfluidics
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In this study, a reduced-order model for a deformable particle is introduced and implemented in the framework of discrete element method (DEM) with the application in biological cells such as red blood cell (RBC). In this model, a single deformable particle comprises a clump of rigid constituent spheres whose centroids are interconnected utilizing mathematical elastic bonds. To preserve the deformability, the bond model is calibrated for the static and dynamic behaviour of an RBC by using the experimental data from the literature. Good accuracy is observed in reproducing the mechanical response of various types of RBCs under different static loadings. For the dynamic calibration, the viscoelastic behaviour and the time-dependent deformation of the RBC are investigated and exhibit a good agreement with the literature. Then, the model is coupled with the immersed boundary method to evaluate the flow characteristics of a single RBC in blood plasma. The results reveal a consistent trend in predicting the drag force on the RBC with the previous investigations. This coupled model can be used in the resolved CFD?DEM simulation of biological flows in microfluidics.