Vol. 48, Issue 3, pp. 477-488
red blood cells, aggregation, fractal dimension, dextran 70
Fractal dimension of three dimensional red blood cell aggregates were determined by measurement of their size and sedimentation velocity. The sedimentation of the aggregates was investigated with red blood cells suspended in dextran 70 solutions at concentrations from 2 to 5 g/dL, at hematocrit 5% and 10%. The aggregate velocity and size were measured using an image analysis technique. The velocity vs. radius dependence of the aggregates exhibited a scaling behavior. This behavior showed the fractal structure of the aggregates. It is shown that the fractal dimension of the three dimensional red blood cell aggregates depends on the dextran concentration in the suspension. This parameter exhibited a minimum at dextran concentration between 3 and 4 g/dL. Thus the fractal dimensions increased as the aggregation extent decreased. The obtained results show that the sedimentation experiment together with image analysis is a promising technique to determine the fractal dimension of the three dimensional red blood cell aggregates.