Laminar and turbulent flow in the mammalian aorta: Reynolds number

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10 Scopus citations


Laminar to turbulent flow transition in the mammalian aorta is generally characterized by Reynolds number. When dimensional analysis is applied to obtain the Reynolds number in allometric form, it is found that this number is not invariant of body weight but is approximately proportional to body length dimensions. This implies that flow in the aorta of large mammals is turbulent and laminar in smaller mammals during most of ventricular ejection. Since Reynolds number is defined for steady flow through rigid tubes, it may not reflect the actual fluid behavior of pulsatile flow in compliant vessels such as the aorta. In addition, turbulence is frequency dependent. The larger compliance of the aorta and the slower heart rate in larger mammals and the shorter entrance length and higher heart rate in smaller mammals lead to equal prevalence of turbulence. The consequence is that the aortic flow waveforms remain similar in all mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)409-414
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Theoretical Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 7 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


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