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Bulletin Contributions

Bulletin Contributions

Preface to the Bio-fluid Mechanics and Heat transfer Issue of the Ercoftac Bulletin

Most biological organisms live in a flowing medium (air or water). During evolution natural selection has found solutions for fluid mechanical problems regarding aquatic and aerial locomotion by organisms ranging in size from single cells to the blue whale. Similarly fluid flow is essential inside the human body, where the blood is pumped around and the air is inhaled. Atherosclerotic plaque formation at well-determined positions in arteries and veins, and gene activation at cellular levels are all influenced by fluid mechanic processes. Diagnostic and therapeutic techniques make use of fluid mechanic and heat transfer knowledge. Examples of the latter are the development of heart valves and the monitoring of temperatures inside the body during surgery.

The complicated geometrical structures in biology and the combination of phenomena (for example the transitional flow of non-Newtonian media in elastic bifurcating channels like blood vessels) form an exciting new area for the development of advanced modelling and experimental techniques. For example, micro- PIV systems are needed to analyse the flow field in micro-vessels and physical models of the fluid flow in the body may also lead to new concepts for non-invasive diagnostic and therapeutic techniques. Also the settlement and growth of settlements in aquatic ecosystems require the combination of advanced flow and mass transport models.

This issue of the Ercoftac Bulletin on Bio-fluid Mechanics and Heat Transfer offers an overview of ongoing research projects in this challenging field. The 9 articles, originating from 5 countries, describe problems ranging from external aquatic flow and flow in the nasal cavity to several analyses of blood flow in the cardiovascular system and of biological topics where temperature plays a major role.

I hope you will enjoy reading and at the end agree with me that this theme is an excellent area for collaboration between research groups from inside and outside the fluid-mechanics community. Besides, the evolutionary solutions found in biological systems are intriguing to understand and may lead to new solutions for technical problems!

A.A. van Steenhoven

Contents of ERCOFTAC Bulletin 68