M.S. Thesis Presentation by Matthew Joseph Casiano

(Dr. Paul Neitzel, advisor)

"The Investigation of Flow Within a Polymer Scaffold Inside a Perfused Bioreactor"


Routine methods of investigating flow can be used to explore the dynamic environment within the bioreactor and its components.  Bioreactors are constructed for sustaining cells or organisms by controlling the amount of nourishment and waste products brought in and removed from the system.  Inside one particular type of bioreactor resides a polymeric, felt scaffold where tissue cells rest. Shear stresses and cell interaction may contribute to cell damage or death and can affect the growth and development of the tissue.  Both qualitative and quantitative analysis of fluid flow is made through a scaled up model of the scaffold that is inside the perfused bioreactor.

A syringe pump and a model scaffold are designed and constructed to aid in performing the analysis.  The syringe pump is necessary to move fluid at a constant rate.  The experimental model of the scaffold is created to simulate the flow within the porous felt.  The refractive index of the fluid is matched to the model felt material to eliminate any distortions due to the curved nature of the monofilament model.  Flow visualization is used to qualitatively analyze the flow within the model of the scaffold.  Particle image velocimetry is employed to make quantitative measurements of the fluid flow through the modeled felt.