Research

DesignFlow

DesignFlow supplements the University of Plymouth's existing numerical modelling capacity to complement its array of experimental facilities. We are active in a range of research areas including:

  • Computational modelling of blood-flow through surgically joined blood vessels
  • Development of ultra-low drag vehicles
  • Numerical modelling of marine mammals with attached telemetry devices
  • Marine renewable energy device development and analysis

By developing numerical models validated experimentally where appropriate, DesignFlow can build powerful, reliable computational tools for analysis, development and optimisation purposes. 

Research projects

Modelling of bloodflow through surgically joined arteries

Micro-arterial Anastomoses are necessary to facilitate blood supply to transplanted tissue in applications such as breast reconstruction and reconstructive surgery following trauma. 

Our work, in collaboration with Surg. Cdr. Rory Rickard (Consultant Plastic Surgeon) is focused on developing a CFD based means of reliably predicting flow behaviour in specific anastomoses geometries, with the aim of informing decisions as to the most appropriate anastomosis technique for a given application. The method under development uses micro-CT scans of arterial geometry as the input to numerical simulations that aim to find the optimum balance between simulation time, computational resource requirement and simulation reliability.

Hydrodynamics of marine mammal telemetry devices

A range of externally mounted devices are used by scientists to gain insight into the movement and behaviour of free ranging marine mammals.  Since most marine mammals for whom swimming is the primary mode of transport possess very low drag bodies, the addition of a device can have a significant impact. 

Working with St Andrews University, we are applying advanced computational methods to quantify what this effect is likely to be.  If we know the increase in hydrodynamic drag caused by a device then marine biologists can determine the associated increase in the 'Cost of Transport', a biological measure of the animal energy requirement. CFD is at its most powerful in this type of application; not only can it be used quantify the current state, it can be used to drive the re-design of devices to minimise impact.