Numerical Analysis of an Extremity in a Cold Environment Including Countercurrent Arterio-Venous Heat Exchange

[+] Author and Article Information
A. Shitzer

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel, 32000

L. A. Stroschein, P. Vital, R. R. Gonzalez, K. B. Pandolf

Environmental Physiology and Medicine Directorate, US Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, Natick, MA 01760

J Biomech Eng 119(2), 179-186 (May 01, 1997) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2796078 History: Received September 17, 1994; Revised July 12, 1996; Online October 30, 2007


A model of the thermal behavior of an extremity, e.g., a finger, is presented. The model includes the effects of heat conduction, metabolic heat generation, heat transport by blood perfusion, heat exchange between the tissue and the large blood vessels, and arterio-venous heat exchange. Heat exchange with the environment through a layer of thermal insulation, depicting thermal handwear, is also considered. The tissue is subdivided into four concentric layers simulating, from the center outward, core, muscle, fat, and skin. Differential heat balance equations are formulated for the tissue and for the major artery and the major vein traversing the finger. These coupled equations are solved numerically by a finite-difference, alternating direction method employing a Thomas algorithm. The numerical scheme was extensively tested for its stability and convergence. This paper presents the model equations and results of the convergence tests, and shows plots of blood and tissue temperatures along the axis of the model for combinations of parameters including the effect of countercurrent heat exchange between the artery and the vein.

Copyright © 1997 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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