Modelling and simulation of suspensions of interacting micro-swimmers

Enkeledia Lushi

Imperial College, London

Microorganisms play an important role in nature. Understanding aspects of their locomotion and collective behaviour is essential to understanding many biological and physical phenomena. Mathematical modelling and fast computational methods can help with that task.

I will present a new model and simulation method that enables us to trace the dynamics of a large number of motile particles. These micro-swimmers interact with each-other and the fluid they are suspended in and can affect by their locomotion. This fast computational method uses the immersed boundary framework and enables us to efficiently simulate the dynamics of thousands of such swimmers and the fluid flows they collectively generate depending on their propulsion mechanism. I will illustrate the method by showing examples of collective dynamics in large suspensions of "pusher" and "puller" micro-swimmers. The model satisfactorily captures macroscopic organisation and fluid flows observed in experiments of bacterial baths. A few applications and extensions of the method will be discussed, e.g. in for bacteria suspensions in drops and channels, or for synthetic chemically-powered micro-particles.

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