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The interplay between activity and filament flexibility determines the emergent properties of active nematics

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Abstract

Active nematics are microscopically driven liquid crystals that exhibit dynamical steady states characterized by the creation and annihilation of topological defects. Motivated by differences between previous simulations of active nematics based on rigid rods and experimental realizations based on semiflexible biopolymer filaments, we describe a large-scale simulation study of a particle-based computational model that explicitly incorporates filament semiflexibility. We find that energy injected into the system at the particle scale preferentially excites bend deformations, reducing the apparent filament bend modulus. The emergent characteristics of the active nematic depend on activity and flexibility only through this activity-renormalized bend ‘modulus’, demonstrating that apparent values of material parameters, such as the Frank ‘constants’, depend on activity. Thus, phenomenological parameters within continuum hydrodynamic descriptions of active nematics must account for this dependence. Further, we present a systematic way to estimate these parameters from observations of deformation fields and defect shapes in experimental or simulation data.

Graphical abstract: The interplay between activity and filament flexibility determines the emergent properties of active nematics

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Publication details

The article was received on 29 Oct 2018, accepted on 27 Nov 2018 and first published on 29 Nov 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02202J
Citation: Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article
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    The interplay between activity and filament flexibility determines the emergent properties of active nematics

    A. Joshi, E. Putzig, A. Baskaran and M. F. Hagan, Soft Matter, 2019, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8SM02202J

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