WHAT IS THE AORTA? The aorta is the largest artery in the human body. It carries blood away from the heart to other parts of the body. Part of it runs through the chest; this is called the thoracic aorta. Once it reaches the abdomen, it is known as the abdominal aorta. An aneurysm is a bulge in a blood vessel, like an over-inflated inner tube. They can develop if the wall of the aorta is weakened by the build-up of fatty deposits called plaque (atherosclerosis). The new model should help doctors better predict the likelihood that an aneurysm will burst.
ABOUT FLUID DYNAMICS: The study of the physics of fluid flow is called fluid dynamics. The most common fluids are liquids and gases, however plasmas and plastics can also be fluids. Understanding the mechanical processes that underlie fluid flow under different temperatures and pressures is important to applications such as the aerodynamics of aircraft, automobiles and ships, the flow of petroleum and water through pipelines, weather prediction, biological function in the human body, and even traffic engineering. Fluid dynamics is also essential to supersonic flows such as shock wave formation, detonation and supersonic transport.
The Division of Fluid Dynamics - American Physical Society contributed to the information contained in the TV portion of this report.