Indexed on: 04 Jul '12Published on: 04 Jul '12Published in: Artificial Organs
Good washout is very important in spiral groove bearing (SGB) designs when applied to blood pumps due to the micrometer scales of lubrication films and groove depths. To improve washout, flow rate or leakage through SGBs should be as large as possible. However, this special goal violates conventional SGB designs in which no leakage is desired as the leakage would decrease load-carrying capacity significantly. So, a design concept is formed fulfilling the two goals of high load-carrying capacity and large flow rate: let groove width decrease along flow path and the mating surface of the rotor rotate with a direction facilitating the flow through the grooves. Under this concept, a novel SGB is designed, contrary to conventional ones, with groove width decreasing with increasing spiral radius. This SGB is mounted on the motionless upper plate of our designed centrifugal blood pump, with the mating surface of rotor rotating with a direction facilitating the outward flow. To assess SGB designs, a characteristic plane is originally presented relating to pressure-normalized load-carrying capacity and flow rate. Comparisons between various kinds of SGB designs are made, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) results are plotted in this characteristic plane from which load/flow performances can be directly read out. CFD and comparison results show that the new designs have superior load/flow characteristics. However, the impact of SGB designs upon hemolysis/thrombus formation is still to be verified according to the concept presented.