A general method for the computer simulation of biological systems interacting with fluids.

C. S. Peskin, D. M. McQueen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


At this Symposium on Biological Fluid Dynamics, it is appropriate to ask whether there is any common theme that unites the diverse problems that arise in the study of living systems interacting with fluids. The answer that immediately comes to mind is this: biological fluid dynamics invariably involves the interaction of elastic flexible tissue with viscous incompressible fluid. (In many cases the tissue is not only elastic, it is also active, i.e. capable of doing work on the fluid). This paper describes the immersed boundary method, which is a general framework for the computer simulation of biofluid dynamic systems. This method has already been applied to blood flow in the heart (including the computer-assisted design of prosthetic cardiac valves), platelet aggregation during blood clotting, aquatic animal locomotion, wave propagation along the basilar membrane of the inner ear, and flow in collapsible tubes. In the immersed boundary method, the elastic (and possibly active) biological tissue is treated as a part of the fluid in which additional forces (derived from the tissue stresses) are applied. Because the tissue is represented in terms of its force field, the method remains straightforward, even when the geometry of the biological tissue is complicated, dynamic and not known in advance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)265-276
Number of pages12
JournalSymposia of the Society for Experimental Biology
StatePublished - 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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