Buoyancy-modulated Lagrangian drift in wavy-walled vertical channels as a model problem to understand drug dispersion in the spinal canal Articles uri icon

publication date

  • October 2022

start page

  • A48-1

end page

  • A48-24


  • A48


  • 949

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-1120

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-7645


  • This paper investigates flow and transport in a slender wavy-walled vertical channel subject to a prescribed oscillatory pressure difference between its ends. When the ratio of the stroke length of the pulsatile flow to the channel wavelength is small, the resulting flow velocity is known to include a slow steady-streaming component resulting from the effect of the convective acceleration. Our study considers the additional effect of gravitational forces in configurations with a non-uniform density distribution. Specific attention is given to the slowly evolving buoyancy-modulated flow emerging after the deposition of a finite amount of solute whose density is different from that of the fluid contained in the channel, a relevant problem in connection with drug dispersion in intrathecal drug delivery (ITDD) processes, involving the injection of the drug into the cerebrospinal fluid that fills the spinal canal. It is shown that when the Richardson number is of order unity, the relevant limit in ITDD applications, the resulting buoyancy-induced velocities are comparable to those of steady streaming. As a consequence, the slow time-averaged Lagrangian motion of the fluid, involving the sum of the Stokes drift and the time-averaged Eulerian velocity, is intimately coupled with the transport of the solute, resulting in a slowly evolving problem that can be treated with two-time-scale methods. The asymptotic development leads to a time-averaged, nonlinear integro-differential transport equation that describes the slow dispersion of the solute, thereby circumventing the need to describe the small concentration fluctuations associated with the fast oscillatory motion. The ideas presented here can find application in developing reduced models for future quantitative analyses of drug dispersion in the spinal canal.


  • Biology and Biomedicine
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Physics
  • Psychology


  • biomedical flows