CFD in service of our health

Many of processes that occur in our bodies are associated with heat and fluid flow. Hence it comes as no surprise that scientists and engineers have been trying to model blood flow or drug diffusion in our tissues.

Standrad CFD packages enable for such simulations, although they have been designed for more industry-oriented problems. Thus they often lack flexibility and have other limitations. For this reason scientists often resort to their own codes.

MATLAB is a perfect tool for tackling such problems as it includes a very broad array of numerical tools such those for image analysis, optimization or solving of non-linear equations. However, untill recently MATLAB did not provide tools for computational Fluid Dynamics.

The situation has changed with the introduction of our QuickerSim CFD Toolbox for MATLAB. It is based on the Finite Element Method and enables fluid and heat flow simulations on unstructured grids. Of course these flows include biofluids.

A specific example is the blood flow simulation in a moderate-sized blood vessel. Results of such an analysis include desirable quantities that are quite difficult to measure. Knowledge of pressure drop is used in prediction of Coronary Artery Disease while the excessive level of shear stresses on the brain vessel walls suggests the risk of aneurysm.

“The key to progress in medicine in the integration of engineering tools with the clinical knowledge of practitioners. For instance, CFD simulations enable predicting phenomena that cannot be identified with ‘old-fashioned’ clinical tools. Out Toolbox gives such an opportunity and takes advantage of all the MATLAB properties”, says Wojciech Regulski, the Vice-President of QuickerSim.

One of main difficulties in biomedicl simulations are large deformations of the vessels. By using the Arbitrary-Lagrangian-Eulerian (ALE) approach, the Toolbox can handle this issue very well. Including further phenomena such as varying viscosity of blood (non-Newtonian behaviour) or peculiar inflow conditions (open or Windkessel boundary conditions) is straightforward because of intuitive and clear code.

Since the code is fully written in MATLAB, it can be readily incorporated into a larger project. One could expand the simulation by taking into account the mechanics of the arterial walls or generate the computational mesh from the Computer Tomography images. Advanced data post-processing could be carried in MATLAB as well. Additionally, the results can be exported to external software. In this case we visualized the results in ParaView.

It should be emphasized that a full three-dimensional transient flow simulation is quite resource-consuming. It turns out, however, that many areas of medicine require only simulaitons of diffusion of heat transfer. Such cases are handled easily in our Toolbox.


The QuickerSim CFD Toolbox for MATLAB is a perfect tool for scientific research and research licenses are available. It can be also used in commercial activities as well as by students. Check out the full pricing here.