Blood is a colloidal suspension of cells, predominantly erythrocytes, (red cells) in an aqueous solution called plasma. Because the red cells are more dense than the plasma, and because they tend to aggregate, erythrocyte sedimentation can be significant when the shear stresses in flowing blood are small. This behavior, coupled with equipment restrictions, has prevented certain definitive fluid mechanical studies from being performed with blood in ground-based experiments. Among such experiments, which could be satisfactorily performed in a microgravity environment, are the following: (1) studies of blood flow in small tubes, to obtain pressure-flow rate relationships, to determine if increased red cell aggregation can be an aid to blood circulation, and to determine vessel entrance lengths, and (2) studies of blood flow through vessel junctions (bifurcations), to obtain information on cell distribution in downstream vessels of (arterial) bifurcations, and to test flow models of stratified convergent blood flows downstream from (venous) bifurcations.
Alabama Univ. UAH(NASA Workshop on Fluids Expt. System; p 116-123