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Phys Rev Lett. 2007 Aug 3;99(5):058102. Epub 2007 Jul 30.

Orientational order and instabilities in suspensions of self-locomoting rods.

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Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, New York 10012, USA.


The orientational order and dynamics in suspensions of self-locomoting slender rods are investigated numerically. In agreement with previous theoretical predictions, nematic suspensions of swimming particles are found to be unstable at long wavelengths as a result of hydrodynamic fluctuations. Nevertheless, a local nematic ordering is shown to persist over short length scales and to have a significant impact on the mean swimming speed. The consequences of the large-scale orientational disorder for particle dispersion are also discussed.

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