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Issue 23, 2015
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Motility induced changes in viscosity of suspensions of swimming microbes in extensional flows

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Abstract

Suspensions of motile cells are model systems for understanding the unique mechanical properties of living materials which often consist of ensembles of self-propelled particles. We present here a quantitative comparison of theory against experiment for the rheology of such suspensions in extensional flows. The influence of motility on viscosities of cell suspensions is studied using a novel acoustically-driven microfluidic capillary-breakup extensional rheometer. Motility increases the extensional viscosity of suspensions of algal pullers, but decreases it in the case of bacterial or sperm pushers. A recent model [Saintillan, Phys. Rev. E: Stat., Nonlinear, Soft Matter Phys., 2010, 81, 56307] for dilute active suspensions is extended to obtain predictions for higher concentrations, after independently obtaining parameters such as swimming speeds and diffusivities. We show that details of body and flagellar shape can significantly determine macroscale rheological behaviour.

Graphical abstract: Motility induced changes in viscosity of suspensions of swimming microbes in extensional flows

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Dec 2014
Accepted
29 Apr 2015
First published
30 Apr 2015

Soft Matter, 2015,11, 4658-4668
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Motility induced changes in viscosity of suspensions of swimming microbes in extensional flows

A. G. McDonnell, T. C. Gopesh, J. Lo, M. O'Bryan, L. Y. Yeo, J. R. Friend and R. Prabhakar, Soft Matter, 2015, 11, 4658
DOI: 10.1039/C4SM02742F

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