Tetrahedral vs. polyhedral mesh size evaluation on flow velocity and wall shear stress for cerebral hemodynamic simulation

Martin Spiegel, Thomas Redel, Jonathan J. Zhang, Tobias Struffert, Joachim Hornegger, Robert G. Grossman, Arnd Doerfler, Christof Karmonik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

110 Scopus citations


Haemodynamic factors, in particular wall shear stresses (WSSs) may have significant impact on growth and rupture of cerebral aneurysms. Without a means to measure WSS reliably in vivo, computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulations are frequently employed to visualise and quantify blood flow from patient-specific computational models. With increasing interest in integrating these CFD simulations into pretreatment planning, a better understanding of the validity of the calculations in respect to computation parameters such as volume element type, mesh size and mesh composition is needed. In this study, CFD results for the two most common aneurysm types (saccular and terminal) are compared for polyhedral- vs. tetrahedral-based meshes and discussed regarding future clinical applications. For this purpose, a set of models were constructed for each aneurysm with spatially varying surface and volume mesh configurations (mesh size range: 5119-258, 481 volume elements). WSS distribution on the model wall and point-based velocity measurements were compared for each configuration model. Our results indicate a benefit of polyhedral meshes in respect to convergence speed and more homogeneous WSS patterns. Computational variations of WSS values and blood velocities are between 0.84 and 6.3% from the most simple mesh (tetrahedral elements only) and the most advanced mesh design investigated (polyhedral mesh with boundary layer).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9-22
Number of pages14
JournalComputer Methods in Biomechanics and Biomedical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2011


  • Blood flow velocity
  • Mesh independence analysis
  • Mesh size evaluation
  • Polyhedral
  • Tetrahedral
  • Wall shear stress

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Human-Computer Interaction


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