→ Distribution - Physical Science & Embalming
There are a seemingly endless amount of combinations of mixtures and solutions an embalmer might create per case. For our purposes of discussing fluid dynamics, please consider water being mixed with your favorite arterial solution. This fluid is now capable of entering the human body and preserving it for a finite amount of time.
What is most significant about our solution is that it must make contact with the area we intend to preserve. For it to affect and preserve tissue, it must be able to reach, saturate, and act upon the tissue. Perhaps the first greatest adversity for the embalmer is reaching the area. Secondly, has enough fluid arrived to saturate the tissue without distortion? And lastly, has enough time elapsed before the fluid leaving for it to reach its full preservation potential?
So how does it get there? Embalmers commonly advise on their methodology: “high pressure and low rate of flow,” “low pressure and low rate of flow”—it seems there might be enough combinations to make someone’s head explode. Let’s for now agree to revisit those concepts at a later time, but remember it is very significant.
For our purposes now, we will be using the “Mortuary Magic Hand”. We can restrict flow enough that it slowly enters the hand. Once we see fluid draining, if we stop drainage then we are now pressurizing the tissue in the hand. As per our flow restriction, as time goes on the tissues of the hand will become more and more saturated in the areas we have distributed fluid. This fluid will not necessarily reach all of the areas of the hand we might have intended. If we were to start and stop drainage, we might see it distribute more thoroughly. If you already know why this is, great job. If you don’t, please consider or try and visualize why.
Consider another method commonly employed by embalmers: concurrent drainage. This time, we will inject the hand and not restrict drainage in any way. In fact, while fluid begins to escape freely, we will decrease the restriction of injection flow. This will increase the displacement of fluid into the hand, where it will enter at a rate faster than it can escape. This method will also saturate the tissue, but you might notice that distribution of fluid will happen on its own.
In our next chapter, we will begin to address why this is.
-The Mortuary Scientist