Fibre-laden flows in biology and biotechnology

Cupples, Gemma (2018). Fibre-laden flows in biology and biotechnology. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Fibre-laden fluids are ubiquitous in biological and physical systems; the fibres alter the rheology of the fluid and hence the emergent behaviour of the system. This thesis investigates two physical situations associated with fibrous media. Firstly we optimise the shear-induced alignment of suspensions of elongated particles, motivated by collaboration with Linear Diagnostics Ltd who are developing handheld devices to detect disruptions in fibre alignment due to pathogen presence in biological samples. Incorporating the effects of fibre dispersion and the mechanical anisotropy induced by the particles, we model suspensions of elongated particles undergoing steady or oscillating ow using a Fokker-Planck framework, producing recommendations for designs which optimise the signal to noise ratio. Next, we investigate microscopic propulsion in perfectly aligned media; for example the evolving fibrous structure of cervical mucus and more generally the problem of propulsion and pumping of an active fluid with alignment. We model the swimming of spermatozoa by adapting Taylor's classical swimming sheet model using Ericksen's transversely isotropic constitutive law (a limit of the Fokker-Planck model), to account for an aligned fibrous network. We find that propulsion in fibre-laden fluids is drastically different from Newtonian fluids, supporting the requirement to investigate fibrous rheology.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
School or Department: School of Mathematics
Funders: Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics


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