Wall entrapment of peritrichous bacteria: a mesoscale hydrodynamics simulation study†
Microswimmers such as E. coli bacteria accumulate and exhibit an intriguing dynamics near walls, governed by hydrodynamic and steric interactions. Insight into the underlying mechanisms and predominant interactions demand a detailed characterization of the entrapment process. We employ a mesoscale hydrodynamics simulation approach to study entrapment of an E. coli-type cell at a no-slip wall. The cell is modeled by a spherocylindrical body with several explicit helical flagella. Three stages of the entrapment process can be distinguished: the approaching regime, where a cell swims toward a wall on a nearly straight trajectory; a scattering regime, where the cell touches the wall and reorients; and a surface-swimming regime. Our simulations show that steric interactions may dominate the entrapment process, yet, hydrodynamic interactions slow down the adsorption dynamics close to the boundary and imply a circular motion on the wall. The locomotion of the cell is characterized by a strong wobbling dynamics, with cells preferentially pointing toward the wall during surface swimming.