Hauptseminar Active Matter SS 2017/Microswimmers in Viscoelastic Media

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Microswimmers in Viscoelastic Media
Yolanda Marin Sabater
J. Ruben Gomez-Solano


Nature offers a plethora of microswimmers moving in complex fluid environments, whose properties can deviate from Newtonian behavior due to the presence of suspended macromolecules and colloidal particles. Some examples are bacteria in polymeric solutions, spermatozoa in cervical mucus, and microbial pathogens in stomach mucus. All of these fluids are viscoelastic; i.e., they may exhibit either liquid- or solidlike behavior, depending on imposed deformation rates. Understanding the dynamics of such kinds of microscopic systems is a topic of fundamental significance in statistical mechanics, as they exhibit new types of nonequilibrium processes. Despite their biological and application related relevance, most experiments with autonomous synthetic microswimmers which are self-propelled were performed in Newtonian fluids. In contrast, only a few studies have considered non-Newtonian fluids where viscoelasticity, shear thinning, and shear thickening strongly impact self-propulsion.


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