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Active particles in complex fluids

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Active particles are self-driven objects, biological or otherwise, which convert stored or ambient energy into systematic motion. The motion of small active particles in Newtonian fluids has received considerable attention, with interest ranging from phoretic propulsion to biological locomotion, whereas studies on active bodies immersed in complex fluids are comparatively scarce. A simple model for an active particle considers a sphere with an axisymmetric distribution of slip-velocities on its surface, known as the squirmer model. This model has been helpful in developing insights into the dynamics of both biological swimmers, like Volvox and Opalina, and synthetic self-propelling colloids. In this talk we present a theory for an active squirmer-type particle in a complex fluid, and then discuss the effects of viscoelasticity and shear-thinning rheology in the context of biological locomotion and the propulsion of colloidal Janus particles.

This talk is part of the DAMTP BioLunch series.

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