University of Cambridge > > Isaac Newton Institute Seminar Series > Active nematics on surfaces: from droplet motility and scission to active wetting

Active nematics on surfaces: from droplet motility and scission to active wetting

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SPLW01 - Building a bridge between non-equilibrium statistical physics and biology

We consider the dynamics of active nematics droplets on surfaces, based on the continuum hydrodynamic theory. We investigate a wide range of dynamical regimes as a function of the activity and droplet size on surfaces characterized by strong anchoring and a range of equilibrium contact angles. The activity was found to control a variety of dynamical regimes, including the self-propulsion of droplets on surfaces, scission, active wetting and droplet evaporation. Furthermore, we found that on a given surface (characterized by the anchoring and the equilibrium contact angle) the dynamical regimes may be controlled by the active capillary number of suspended droplets. We also found that the active nematics concentration of the droplets varies with the activity, affecting the wetting behaviour weakly but ultimately driving droplet evaporation. Our analysis provides a global description of a wide range of dynamical regimes reported for active nematics droplets and suggests a unified description of droplets on surfaces. We discuss the key role of the finite size of the droplets and comment on the suppression of these regimes in the infinite size limit, where the active nematics is turbulent at any degree of activity.

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

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