A student practical to conceptualize the importance of Poiseuille's law and flow control in the cardiovascular system

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute of Clinical Sciences
  • Univ Birmingham Edgbaston
  • Structural Genomics Consortium (United Kingdom), Oxford, United Kingdom.


The laboratory practical reported here is based in Poiseuille's law and utilizes low-cost laboratory consumable items, thereby making it easy to deploy in any teaching laboratory. In the practical, students take an experimental approach of individually changing physical variables and measuring fluid flow rates. Plotting these results allows them to discuss the effect each variable has on flow. Furthermore, students enhance their appreciation of experimental errors and variability by making repeat measurements. In the follow-up teaching session, the students are encouraged to apply their experimental findings to the cardiovascular system and the control of blood flow both at rest and under conditions of altered cardiac output, such as during exercise. By tackling the topic of flow control as a core concept, it allows the students to then apply their understanding in wider physiological contexts, such as airflow in the respiratory system.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)436-443
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Advances in Physiology Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2020