Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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The speed of blood

The aorta (the main blood vessel coming out of the heart) has a radius of about 1.0 cm and the total cross section of the major arteries is about 20 cm2. The density of blood is about the same as water, 1 g/cm3.

  1. Given that the velocity of blood pumping through the aorta is about 30 cm/s, what is the total current of the blood passing through the aorta (in mass of blood per second)?
  2. If all the blood that flows through the aorta then branches into the major arteries, what is the velocity of blood in the major arteries?
  3. The blood flowing in the major arteries then branches into the capillaries.   If the velocity of blood in the capillaries is measured to be 0.03 cm/s, what is the cross sectional area of the capillary system?

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Page last modified February 23, 2006: M18