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Coupled finite difference and boundary element methods for fluid flow through a vessel with multibranches in tumours


Correspondence to: Guo Xiong Wu, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, Torrington Place, London WC1E 7JE, UK.



A mathematical model and a numerical solution procedure are developed to simulate flow field through a 3D permeable vessel with multibranches embedded in a solid tumour. The model is based on Poisseuille's law for the description of the flow through the vessels, Darcy's law for the fluid field inside the tumour interstitium, and Starling's law for the flux transmitted across the vascular walls. The solution procedure is based on a coupled method, in which the finite difference method is used for the flow in the vessels and the boundary element method is used for the flow in the tumour. When vessels meet each other at a junction, the pressure continuity and mass conservation are imposed at the junction. Three typical representative structures within the tumour vasculature, symmetrical dichotomous branching, asymmetrical bifurcation with uneven radius of daughter vessels and trifurcation, are investigated in detail as case studies. These results have demonstrated the features of tumour flow environment by the pressure distributions and flow velocity field. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.