Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering


Biomedical and General Engineering


David Clague


Aortic aneurysms are the 14th leading cause of death in the United States. Annually, abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) ruptures are responsible for 4500 deaths. There are another 45,000 repair procedures performed to prevent rupture, and of these approximately 1400 lead to deaths. With proper detection, the aneurysm may be treated using endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR). Understanding how the flow of the blood within the artery is affected by the aneurysm is important in determining the growth of the aneurysm, as well as how to properly treat the aneurysm. The goal of this project was to develop a physical construct of the AAA, and use this construct to validate a computational model of the same aneurysm through flow visualization. The hypothesis was that the fluid velocities within the physical construct would accurately mimic the fluid velocities used in the computational model. The physical model was created from a CT scan of an AAA using 3D printing and polymer casting. The result was a translucent box containing a region in the shape of the aneurysm. Fluid was pumped through the construct to visualize and quantify the velocity of the fluid within the aneurysm. COMSOL Multiphysics® was used to create a computational model of the same aneurysm, as well as obtain velocity measurements to statistically compare to those from the physical construct. There was no significant difference between the velocity values for the physical construct and the COMSOL Multiphysics® model, confirming the hypothesis. This study used a CT scan to create an anatomically accurate model of an AAA that was used to validate a computational model using a novel technique of flow visualization. As EVAR technologies continue to progress, it will become increasingly important to understand how the blood flow within the aneurysm affects the growth and treatment of AAAs.