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Issue 33, 2015
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Virial pressure in systems of spherical active Brownian particles

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Abstract

The pressure of suspensions of self-propelled objects is studied theoretically and by simulation of spherical active Brownian particles (ABPs). We show that for certain geometries, the mechanical pressure as force/area of confined systems can be equally expressed by bulk properties, which implies the existence of a nonequilibrium equation of state. Exploiting the virial theorem, we derive expressions for the pressure of ABPs confined by solid walls or exposed to periodic boundary conditions. In both cases, the pressure comprises three contributions: the ideal-gas pressure due to white-noise random forces, an activity-induced pressure (“swim pressure”), which can be expressed in terms of a product of the bare and a mean effective particle velocity, and the contribution by interparticle forces. We find that the pressure of spherical ABPs in confined systems explicitly depends on the presence of the confining walls and the particle–wall interactions, which has no correspondence in systems with periodic boundary conditions. Our simulations of three-dimensional ABPs in systems with periodic boundary conditions reveal a pressure–concentration dependence that becomes increasingly nonmonotonic with increasing activity. Above a critical activity and ABP concentration, a phase transition occurs, which is reflected in a rapid and steep change of the pressure. We present and discuss the pressure for various activities and analyse the contributions of the individual pressure components.

Graphical abstract: Virial pressure in systems of spherical active Brownian particles

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Publication details

The article was received on 08 Jun 2015, accepted on 14 Jul 2015 and first published on 16 Jul 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01412C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2015,11, 6680-6691
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    Virial pressure in systems of spherical active Brownian particles

    R. G. Winkler, A. Wysocki and G. Gompper, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 6680
    DOI: 10.1039/C5SM01412C

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