Newswise — WASHINGTON, D.C., February 13, 2017 -- Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of deaths worldwide -- yet researchers still don’t fully understand how blood flows or even which components within blood can lead to cardiac issues.

While several circulatory system models are used today in an attempt to better understand blood flow, they still don’t account for the complex rheological behavior of blood. Because blood is a complex suspension of red and white blood cells and platelets suspended within a plasma that contains various proteins, it can exhibit complex flow behavior.

Many of the models currently used ignore these complexities and assume a Newtonian behavior or a constant thickness.

During the 88th Annual Meeting of The Society of Rheology, being held Feb. 12-16, in Tampa, Florida, Jeffrey S. Horner, a doctoral candidate who works in both the Beris and Wagner Research Groups in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, will present a new approach.

“Our research team aims to explore and model these non-Newtonian characteristics of blood flow through careful, well-documented measurements, and by combining expertise within the fields of rheology, computational modeling, and biology,” Horner said.

The goal is to identify key components of blood that directly affect the flow behavior. “We hope that eventually rheology can be used as a diagnostics tool to detect early signs for cardiovascular disease as well as various other blood diseases,” he said.

This work is a significant departure from previous efforts within the field of blood rheology. “Our experiments are among the first to provide reliable data that properly preconditions the sample and reports the full physiological parameters that affect flow behavior -- all of which are conducted using state-of-the-art rheological equipment,” noted Horner.

The team is also implementing transient tests that, to their knowledge, have never been conducted on blood samples before and are designed to explore the flow regimes that occur in the human body. “The modeling we’re doing of transient blood flows is thought to be the first successful effort to represent more than just the steady shear behavior of human blood,” Horner said.

Once transient behavior is understood and correlated to the physiological parameters within the blood, “we can then use rheology as a diagnostic tool for human blood,” added Horner. “As a diagnostic tool, it will enable earlier and quicker detection of various diseases.”

The presentation BA9 "Investigation of the human blood rheology in transient flows," by Jeffrey S. Horner, will be a session beginning at 2:45 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 in Track 2/Room Audubon DEF at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay.ABSTRACT:

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The Annual Meeting of The Society of Rheology is typically held in mid-October. The meetings ordinarily last three to four days and are open to both members and non-members. Every effort is made to stimulate and encourage fruitful discussion during the technical sessions, with 25 minutes normally allotted to the presentation and discussion of each paper. There are normally no more than four simultaneous sessions, and the program includes plenary lectures, special symposia, informal evening discussions, and instrument exhibits. A banquet is held to honor the recipients of the Society's awards: the Bingham Medal, the Journal of Rheology Publication Award, and the Distinguished Service Award, all for outstanding contributions to rheology. The Annual Meeting for those years during which an International Congress of Rheology occurs (2004, 2008, etc.) is held early in the following year (except when the ICR is held in the United States).


Embargoed press releases describing in detail some of the breakthroughs to be discussed at the meeting are available on Newswise and Alpha Galileo or by contacting the Media Line at the American Institute of Physics at [email protected] or 301-209-3090.


88th Annual Society of Rheology Meeting, Feb. 12-16, 2017 in Tampa, FloridaMeeting Main Meeting Page:


Rheology, a branch of mechanics, is the study of those properties of materials which determine their response to mechanical force. The word rheology was coined in the 1920's to represent the science of the deformation and flow of matter, and The Society of Rheology was officially formed on December 9, 1929. Meetings of The Society have been held at least annually since that time. The Society has sponsored publication of technical and scientific papers in this field in various journals, currently in its own Journal of Rheology.

Rheology enters in some form into almost every study of material properties, and many physicists, chemists, engineers, biologists and mathematicians find a common meeting ground in The Society's meetings and publications. It is a small society compared to many others, membership currently being about 1,700. The membership represents a wide spectrum of individuals from academic, industrial, and governmental institutions whose activities include both phenomenological and molecular theories, instrumentation, the study of many types of materials such as polymers, metals, petroleum products, rubber, paint, printing ink, ceramics and glass, foods, biological materials, floor preparations and cosmetics, and a wide range of practical applications.

The Society of Rheology is one of the five founding members of the American Institute of Physics. By virtue of this affiliation, all Members of The Society receive the Institute's monthly publication Physics Today without extra charge, and join with other physicists in sponsoring the many general activities of the Institute including publication, translation, manpower studies, and projects on the history of physics. The Society is also affiliated with the U.S. National Committee on Theoretical and Applied Mechanics. The Society is also a member of the International Committee on Rheology, which organizes the International Congress on Rheology, held every four years.