Numerical Simulation in Life Sciences

In several practical joint projects, numerical simulation and optimization methods were applied to investigate physical effects (e.g. microfluidics) in devices for life sciences. Typical applications were:

  • Flushing of valves, pipes or complete flow systems
  • Droplet and particle (e.g. aerosols) transport in fluids
  • Droplet and particle deposition on surfaces
  • Mixing or separation of fluids or particles
  • Characterization of bubbly flows
  • Transport, removal of bubbles or droplets
  • Lab-on-chip applications
  • Fluid-structure interactions

MobiGuide (Fraunhofer Institut FIT)

In this project an improved diagnostic procedure was developed to determine the growth of a prostate tumor (staging) more precisely. We carried out flow simulations to characterize and enhance the probe suction, the flushing of the system, and the mixing of extracted probes with the carrier fluid.

Aeskulap (Fraunhofer Institut FIT)

Concerning sepsis, a fast and reliable diagnostic method to identify pathogenic germs was investigated. With regard to a definite thermal manipulation of a separation device, a conjugate heat transfer simulation model (solid, fluid) was established. The model was used to analyze the fundamental functionality of the device.

MAS (Fraunhofer Institut FIT)

There is a wide range of application scenarios for Ambient Assisted Living systems, among them a monitoring system for cardiovascular diseases, globally still the most frequent cause of death. In the scope of this work, several microfluidic structures with regard to their wetting ability and thus the sensitivity of sensors were investigated through computational fluid dynamics.

P.R.I.T.® Air/Liquid Interface

Until recently, toxicological tests of airborne substances had to be performed above all in experimental animals. The P.R.I.T.® technology now provides a meaningful, alternative in-vitro test method based on cell cultures for toxicological testing of airborne substances from a large variety of sources. The aim of the study was to characterize and improve the deposited amount of test aerosols on the cultured human cells, to enhance the supply of nutrient in the liquid zone of the cell cultures, and furthermore to increase the amount of aerosols extracted from a sampling box. For this purpose CFD methods were applied within this project.

Our Solution

We apply commercial simulation codes with additional software development (user functions, post-processing programs, etc.) to investigate fluid behavior for biomedical flows including microfluidics.

These problems may comprise:

  • multi-phases (bubbles, solid particles, etc.)
  • surface tension and wall adhesion (capillary effects)
  • brownian diffusion
  • thermophoresis
  • non-continuum effects like slip conditions at wall or particle surfaces
  • chemical reactions or chemical/biological interactions (antigen-antibody)
  • structural deformation and contact mechanics
  • fluid structure interaction
  • electromagnetic interaction
  • or other phenomena which is typical for that kind of applications

Realization of new Methods and Solutions within R&D Projects

The application of numerical simulation in Life Sciences is fast-growing but still lagged behind other industrial sectors. The accomplishment of R&D projects in Life Sciences where numerical simulation methods are widely deployed can offer a deep insight of various physical processes. Only an extensive understanding of the essential physical characteristics enables constructive advancements in this complex field of application. Fraunhofer SCAI is keen on delivering sophisticated simulation approaches within the framework of R&D projects for a wide range of Life Science applications.

Within the scope of many applications in Life Sciences, we offer:

  • Evaluation of possible numerical simulation approaches and development of simulative procedures for your problem (best practice)
  • Application of numerical methods (e.g. CFD) to assist you in any development process concerning Life Sciences
  • Participation as research partner in any kind of publicly or elsewhere funded projects

Concerning the field of in-vitro toxicology, we offer in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine (ITEM) :

  • our expertise and services for any issue in the context of airborne substance testing by means of alternative in-vitro methods. Our main focus is  our air/liquid interface P.R.I.T.® ExpoCube®.
  • development or customization of methods and processes for specific problems and requirements. We can adapt our technology to your specific requirements or add other components or process steps to our methods to provide a solution to your problem. The newly developed or adapted method can then either be put to use by our experts or, as the result of the commissioned development work, can be handed over to your own laboratories for further use.
  • supplementary to this, but also as a self-contained event, we offer customized workshops and trainings to our clients focusing on any techniques and lab procedures in the field of testing airborne substances by cell-based in vitro methods. We can perform studies and analyses of the most different kinds in the context of inhalable substances. Different kinds of studies can be offered, from feasibility studies (proof of concept/proof of principle) to studies that will lead to regulatory assessment at a later stage.

See more at