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J Phys Condens Matter. 2014 Mar 19;26(11):115101. doi: 10.1088/0953-8984/26/11/115101. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Impact of external flow on the dynamics of swimming microorganisms near surfaces.

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  • 1Howard P Isermann Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA. Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.

Abstract

Swimming microorganisms have been previously observed to accumulate along walls in confined systems both experimentally and in computer simulations. Here, we use computer simulations of dilute populations for a simplified model of an organism to calculate the dynamics of swimmers between two walls with an external fluid flow. Simulations with and without hydrodynamic interactions (HIs) are used to quantify their influence on surface accumulation. We found that the accumulation of organisms at the wall is larger when HIs are included. An external fluid flow orients the organisms parallel to the fluid flow, which reduces the accumulation at the walls. The effect of the flow on the orientations is quantified and compared to previous work on upstream swimming of organisms and alignment of passive rods in flow. In pressure-driven flow, the zero shear rate at the channel center leads to a dip in the concentration of organisms in the center. The curvature of this dip is quantified as a function of the flow rate. The fluid flow also affects the transport of organisms across the channel from one wall to the other.

PMID:
24590066
[PubMed - in process]
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