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Pressure-driven active nematics systems: possible optimisation and design methods

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DNMW01 - Optimal design of complex materials

Active nematic fluids combine the flow-molecular orientation coupling phenomena seen in liquid crystals and the presence of internal energy generation that lead to spontaneous flow. These two effects combine to produce a fascinating non-eqiuilibrium system, in which enhanced mixing, defect creation and anihilation and active turbulence have all been observed. In this presentation we will consider a relatively simple system – pressure-driven flow in a channel – in which multiple non-trivial equilibria can be found. The interaction between the strength of activity, the applied pressure gradient and other parameters such as boundary anchoring constraints will be explored, with the aim of allowing optimisation of, for instance, the observed fluid flux. Using similar methodologies to those commonly used in the design of liquid crystal display devices, we are able to affect the fluid flux of each possible stable state and to even change the number of possible equilibria.

Co-authors: Dr Geoff McKay and Josh Walton (Strathclyde)

This talk is part of the Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series series.

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