Experimental Determination of Dynamic Characteristics of the VentrAssist Implantable Rotary Blood Pump

Blackwell Publishing INC,
Publication Type:
Journal article
Artificial Organs, 2004, 28 (12), pp. 55 - 60
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The VentrAssist implantable rotary blood pump, intended for long-term ventricular assist, is under development and is currently being tested for its rotor-dynamic stability. The pump consists of a shaftless impeller, which also acts as the rotor of the brushless DC motor. The impeller remains passively suspended in the pump cavity by hydrodynamic forces, which result from the small clearances between the outside surfaces of the impeller and the pump cavity. These small clearances range from approximately 50 µm to 230 µm in size in the version of pump reported here. This article presents experimental investigation into the dynamic characteristics of the impeller-bearing-pump housing system of the rotary blood pump for increasing pump speeds at different flow rates. The pump was mounted on a suspension system consisting of a platform and springs, where the natural frequency and damping ratio for the suspension system were determined. Real-time measurements of the impeller's displacement were performed using Hall effect sensors. A vertical disturbance force was exerted onto the pump housing, causing the impeller to be displaced in vertical direction from its dynamic equilibrium position within the pump cavity. The impeller displacement was represented by a decaying sine wave, which indicated the impeller restoring to its equilibrium position. From the decaying sine wave the natural frequency and stiffness coefficient of the system were determined. Furthermore, the logarithmic decrement method was used to determine the damping ratio and eventually the damping coefficient of the system. Results indicate that stiffness and damping coefficients increased as flow rate and pump speed increased, representing an increase in stability with these changing conditions.
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