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Issue 27, 2018
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Dynamics and thermodynamics of air-driven active spinners

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We report on the collective behavior of active particles in which energy is continuously supplied to rotational degrees of freedom. The active spinners are 3D-printed disks, 1 cm in diameter, that have an embedded fan-like structure, such that a sub-levitating up-flow of air forces them to spin. Single spinners exhibit Brownian motion with a narrow Gaussian velocity distribution function, P(v), for translational motion. We study the evolution of P(v) as the packing fraction and the average single particle spin speeds are varied. The interparticle hydrodynamic interaction is negligible, and the dynamics is dominated by hyperelastic collisions and dissipative forces. As expected for nonequilibrium systems, P(v) for a collection of many spinners deviates from Gaussian behavior. However, unlike translationally active systems, phase separation is not observed, and the system remains spatially homogeneous. We then search for a near-equilibrium counterpart for our active spinners by measuring the equation of state. Interestingly, it agrees well with a hard-sphere model, despite the dissipative nature of the single particle dynamics.

Graphical abstract: Dynamics and thermodynamics of air-driven active spinners

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Publication details

The article was received on 28 Feb 2018, accepted on 23 May 2018 and first published on 24 May 2018

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00403J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 5588-5594
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    Dynamics and thermodynamics of air-driven active spinners

    S. Farhadi, S. Machaca, J. Aird, B. O. Torres Maldonado, S. Davis, P. E. Arratia and D. J. Durian, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 5588
    DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00403J

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