The mathematical modelling and numerical simulation of the human cardiovascular system is playing nowadays an important role in the comprehension of the genesis and development of cardiovascular diseases. In this paper we deal with two problems of 3D modelling and simulation in this field, which are very often neglected in the literature. On the one hand blood flow in arteries is characterized by travelling pressure waves due to the interaction of blood with the vessel wall. On the other hand, blood exhibits non-Newtonian properties, like shear-thinning, viscoelasticity and thixotropy. The present work is concerned with the coupling of a generalized Newtonian fluid, accounting for the shear-thinning behaviour of blood, with an elastic structure describing the vessel wall, to capture the pulse wave due to the interaction between blood and the vessel wall. We provide an energy estimate for the coupling and compare the numerical results with those obtained with an equivalent fluid–structure interaction model using a Newtonian fluid.

CEMAT - Center for Computational and Stochastic Mathematics