In recent years the methods of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) have been applied to the human cardiovascular system to better understand the relationship between arterial blood flow and the disease process. Obviously, the technical challenges associated with such modeling are formidable. Among the many problems to be addressed, in this paper we add yet another complication — the known non-Newtonian nature of blood. Due to the preliminary nature of the study, we limit ourselves to a generic and idealized geometry — a simple standard bifurcation of a tube with rigid walls. The pulsatile nature of the flow is considered. We use the Carreau-Yasuda model to describe the non-Newtonian viscosity variation. Preliminary results are presented for the Newtonian and non-Newtonian cases, at mean Reynolds number of 340, averaged over the cardiac cycle. The broad fundamental issue we wish to eventually resolve is whether or not non-Newtonian effects in blood flow are sufficiently strong that they must be addressed in meaningful simulations. Interesting differences during the flow cycle shed light on the problem, but further research is needed.

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