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J Gen Physiol. 1981 October 1; 78(4): 431–453.
PMCID: PMC2228620

On connecting large vessels to small. The meaning of Murray's law


A large part of the branching vasculature of the mammalian circulatory and respiratory systems obeys Murray's law, which states that the cube of the radius of a parent vessel equals the sum of the cubes of the radii of the daughters. Where this law is obeyed, a functional relationship exists between vessel radius and volumetric flow, average linear velocity of flow, velocity profile, vessel-wall shear stress, Reynolds number, and pressure gradient in individual vessels. In homogeneous, full-flow sets of vessels, a relation is also established between vessel radius and the conductance, resistance, and cross- sectional area of a full-flow set.

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