Hauptseminar Soft Matter SS 2019/Transport and accumulation of bacteria in porous media

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Transport and accumulation of bacteria in porous media
Samuel Tovey
Kartik Jain


Microorganisms, like bacteria inherently propel, proliferate and die in fluids like water, and thus influence a number of applications where flow of water is involved. Studies have shown that bacteria accumulate at surfaces and around obstacles [1, 2]. Furthermore, the bacterial dynamics play a pivotal role in precipitation of calcite around surfaces in porous media [3] on one hand, and on the other the trajectory of a bacterium depends largely on the geometrical configuration of a given system [4, 5]. The calcite precipitation only commences once the bacteria has formed a large enough biofilm to create sufficient concentrations of inorganic carbon in the form of carbonate ions by metabolising the urea. Apart from producing the necessary catalysts for the reaction, the biofilm also acts as a nucleation site for the heterogeneous calcite precipitation [6].

In this talk, the dynamics of bacteria, their attraction or repulsion near a surface, that leads to their accumulation around porous media and the development of a calcite thereof will be discussed. The modeling aspects of bacterial dynamics, and the underlying hydrodynamics will be evaluated. The role of hydrodynamic interactions between the bacteria and surfaces, in relation to the local flow field will be characterized.