Start: 12/05/2021 17:00 - End: 12/05/2021 18:00Place: Zoom (details in the description)
Becca Thomases (UC Davis) Microorganism locomotion in viscoelastic fluids Wednesday 12th May 16.00 GMT+1 (8.00 US West Coast, 11.00 US East Coast, 17.00 Central European Time)
Abstract: Many microorganisms and cells function in complex (non-Newtonian) fluids, which are mixtures of different materials and exhibit both viscous and elastic stresses. For example, mammalian sperm swim through cervical mucus on their journey through the female reproductive tract, and they must penetrate the viscoelastic gel outside the ovum to fertilize. In micro-scale swimming the dynamics emerge from the coupled interactions between the complex rheology of the surrounding media and the passive and active body dynamics of the swimmer. We use computational models of swimmers in viscoelastic fluids to investigate and provide mechanistic explanations for emergent swimming behaviors. I will discuss how flexible filaments (such as flagella) can store energy from a viscoelastic fluid to gain stroke boosts due to fluid elasticity. I will also describe 3D simulations of model organisms such as C. Reinhardtii and mammalian sperm, where we use experimentally measured stroke data to separate naturally coupled stroke and fluid effects. We explore why strokes that are adapted to Newtonian fluid environments might not do well in viscoelastic environments.
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