Research Papers

A Real-Time Programmable Pulsatile Flow Pump for In Vitro Cardiovascular Experimentation

[+] Author and Article Information
Rahul Raj Mechoor

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Clemson University,
252 Fluor Daniel EIB,
Clemson, SC 29631
e-mail: rmechoo@clemson.edu

Tyler Schmidt

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Clemson University,
252 Fluor Daniel EIB,
Clemson, SC 29631
e-mail: tmschmi@clemson.edu

Ethan Kung

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Clemson University,
231 Fluor Daniel EIB,
Clemson, SC 29634-0921
e-mail: ekung@clemson.edu

1Corresponding author.

Manuscript received May 14, 2016; final manuscript received August 22, 2016; published online October 21, 2016. Assoc. Editor: Jessica E. Wagenseil.

J Biomech Eng 138(11), 111002 (Oct 21, 2016) (5 pages) Paper No: BIO-16-1201; doi: 10.1115/1.4034561 History: Received May 14, 2016; Revised August 22, 2016

Benchtop in vitro experiments are valuable tools for investigating the cardiovascular system and testing medical devices. Accurate reproduction of the physiologic flow waveforms at various anatomic locations is an important component of these experimental methods. This study discusses the design, construction, and testing of a low-cost and fully programmable pulsatile flow pump capable of continuously producing unlimited cycles of physiologic waveforms. It consists of a gear pump actuated by an AC servomotor and a feedback algorithm to achieve highly accurate reproduction of flow waveforms for flow rates up to 300 ml/s across a range of loading conditions. The iterative feedback algorithm uses the flow error values in one iteration to modify the motor control waveform for the next iteration to better match the desired flow. Within four to seven iterations of feedback, the pump replicated desired physiologic flow waveforms to within 2% normalized RMS error (for flow rates above 20 mL/s) under varying downstream impedances. This pump device is significantly more affordable (∼10% of the cost) than current commercial options. More importantly, the pump can be controlled via common scientific software and thus easily implemented into large automation frameworks.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME
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Fig. 1

System schematic: (1) 3/4 in. ID reinforced high-pressure PVC tube, (2) pressure sensor, (3) flow sensor, (4) pinch valves, (5) compliance chamber, and (6) 3/8 in. ID Tygon tubing

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Fig. 2

Physiologic abdominal aortic flow (solid line) and pressure (dotted line) under light exercise (a) and resting (b) conditions [11]

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Fig. 3

Calibration curve: motor speed versus flow rate with downstream valve fully open (square) and partially closed (star)

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Fig. 4

Comparison of desired flow (solid line) with output flow without feedback (dash-dotted line) and output flow after six iterations of feedback (dotted line) (a) and convergence of the output flow waveform (b)

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Fig. 5

Results from physiological testing. Recreation of abdominal aortic waveform under exercise (a) and resting (b) conditions. Desired flow (solid line) compared to output flow (dotted line) and pressure (dash-dotted line).

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Fig. 6

Twenty individual waveforms from a series of continuous waveforms superposed over each other to show the cycle-to-cycle consistency in output flow



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