The Physiology Behind How Blood Vessels Work

A CIBT Lab Exercise in Physiology

Abstract

Abstract

This laboratory addresses the physical mechanisms by which our blood vessels function in allowing the circulatory system to do its job. Blood vessels are not simply rigid tubes that conduct blood to our tissues like copper pipes carrying water to our houses, nor are they infinitely extensible balloons that can accommodate any amount of blood pressure or volume. In fact, blood vessels have a complex material composition that allows them to do several different jobs and change their function depending on the situation. In essence, blood vessels are a dynamic tissue rather than a static one. Just as with other organs of the body, blood vessels are complex in nature because of the demand for their complex function. When a disease state changes these properties, it can have devastating and often fatal effects. In this exercise students will use models of blood vessels to determine the effects of normal blood vessel distensibility on the dynamics of blood flow, and investigate the nature of aneurysms.
 

Time Required

Time Required

In class: The exercise can be carried out in one 45-minute period.
Before class: Teacher preparation includes putting together the Windkessel demo and distributing proper materials to each group of students. It may also be advisable to spend some time reviewing physiology behind atherosclerosis, and aneurysms.

Materials

Materials

Materials This lab uses a Windkessel apparatus available from WHBR as the Blood Vessel Kit. This apparatus can be assembled using common lab supplies. see lab for details.

Copyright for this material is held by Cornell University, the Cornell Institute for Biology Teachers (CIBT), the Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT), and or West Hill Biological Resources, Inc., 2014. This work may be copied by the original recipient from this web site to provide copies for users working under the direct supervision of the original recipient. All other redistribution of this content without the express written permission of the copyright holder(s) is prohibited.

Price:       No Charge

Authors:

Young Hui Chang

Sandra Latourelle