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Fluid dynamics seminar

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Abstract:

Complex fluids appear in many biological and industrial settings. A key feature is that their interesting macroscale behaviour derives from their complex microscale structure. In many cases, these fluids are suspensions – some viscous fluid with particles or fibres suspended within. For example, in polymeric fluids, flexible suspended fibres lead to non-Newtonian bulk responses such as shear thinning or viscoelasticity.? When entangled or connected in networks, fibres form gels and disordered solids as is the case in important biological materials such as mucus.

These systems are interesting for mathematicians because the question is raised as to which scale is ‘right’ to investigate these fluids.

The project we have been working on here at Imperial – modelling sperm swimming through mucus – argues that large-scale simulation of microscale fibres, interacting with fluid, allows us to bridge this gap.

In this talk, I give a brief overview of suspension mechanics, then I present our progress so far in modelling fibre suspensions – how we moved to 3D, how we created large networks for sperm-like swimmers to navigate through, as well as the interesting behaviour of fibres in other configurations. I will share my experience of using the college computational infrastructure, as well as presenting goals for the remainder of the project and avenues for the more distant future.

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