When a dissolved oxygen (DO) probe is submerged in an air-saturated cell culture medium, the thickness of the liquid film that exists outside the membrane of a DO probe changes with hydrodynamic shear. The response of the DO probe thus varies with the hydrodynamic shear environment near the DO probe in cell culture reactors. The thickness of the liquid film was estimated by using a three-layer model, which describes the flow of DO molecules through the liquid layer, the membrane, and the electrolyte, to the cathode of a DO probe. According to the three-layer model, the current output of the DO probe was a strong function of the thickness of the liquid film outside the membrane of the DO probe. A correlation between shear rates on the surface of the probe and the DO saturation reading was obtained by using two concentric cylinders with a rotating inner cylinder. This correlation was then used to characterize the local hydrodynamic shear environment in a cell culture reactor.
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