Rheology of red blood cells under flow in highly confined microchannels. II. Effect of focusing and confinement

We study the focusing of red blood cells and vesicles in pressure-driven flows in highly confined microchannels (10-30 mm), identifying the control parameters that dictate the cell distribution along the channel. Our results show that an increase in the flow velocity leads to a sharper cell distribution in a lateral position of the channel. This position depends on the channel width, with cells flowing at outer (closer to the walls) positions in thicker channels. We also study the relevance of the object shape, exploring the different behaviour of red blood cells and different vesicles. We also analyze the implications of these phenomena in the cell suspension rheology, highlighting the crucial role of the wall confinement in the rheological properties of the suspension.