Analysis of Transitional and Turbulent Flow Through the FDA Benchmark Nozzle Model Using Laser Doppler Velocimetry

Joshua O. Taylor, Bryan C. Good, Anthony V. Paterno, Prasanna Hariharan, Steven Deutsch, Richard A. Malinauskas, Keefe B. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Transitional and turbulent flow through a simplified medical device model is analyzed as part of the FDA’s Critical Path Initiative, designed to improve the process of bringing medical products to market. Computational predictions are often used in the development of devices and reliable in vitro data is needed to validate computational results, particularly estimations of the Reynolds stresses that could play a role in damaging blood elements. The high spatial resolution of laser Doppler velocimetry (LDV) is used to collect two component velocity data within the FDA benchmark nozzle model. Two flow conditions are used to produce flow encompassing laminar, transitional, and turbulent regimes, and viscous stresses, principal Reynolds stresses, and turbulence intensities are calculated from the measured LDV velocities. Axial velocities and viscous stresses are compared to data from a prior inter-laboratory study conducted with particle image velocimetry. Large velocity gradients are observed near the wall in the nozzle throat and in the jet shear layer located in the expansion downstream of the throat, with axial velocity changing as much as 4.5 m/s over 200 μm. Additionally, maximum Reynolds shear stresses of 1000–2000 Pa are calculated in the high shear regions, which are an order of magnitude higher than the peak viscous shear stresses (<100 Pa). It is important to consider the effects of both viscous and turbulent stresses when simulating flow through medical devices. Reynolds stresses above commonly accepted hemolysis thresholds are measured in the nozzle model, indicating that hemolysis may occur under certain flow conditions. As such, the presented turbulence quantities from LDV, which are also available for download at, provide an ideal validation test for computational simulations that seek to characterize the flow field and to predict hemolysis within the FDA nozzle geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-209
Number of pages19
JournalCardiovascular Engineering and Technology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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