Modelling and computer simulations of microswimming and bacterial motility
Mechanical Engineering Department Technical University of Munich James-Franck-Str. 85747 Garching Germany
Computer simulations can provide valuable insight into complex biological systems that involve the interaction of elastic structures with a viscous, incompressible fluid. The field of biological fluid dynamics presents a number of challenges in addition to those traditionally faced in computational fluid dynamics. In order to model the motion of living organisms it is necessary to capture time-dependent geometries with large structural deformations. Usually, the shape of the elastic structures are not preset, but determined by the fluid dynamics, which requires a modification of standard continuum mechanics schemes. On a larger lengthscale, the major challenges in biological fluid dynamics include modeling self-organization in active, hydrodynamically coupled systems such as beating cilia or bacterial swarms. It is obvious, that neither continuum mechanics methods nor molecular simulations are well suited for solving these problems and, therefore, a development of efficient hybrid or mesoscale methods is necessary. The field of biological fluid dynamics is now rapidly expanding towards microscopic biomimetic systems. Recent advances in micromanipulation techniques made it possible to construct artificial swimmers mimicking the microbial self-propulsion mechanisms. The first working microswimmer imitating the flagellum beating was reported recently by a French group. Moreover, a number of realistic implementations of DNA-based, and colloidal micro- and nanomachines were suggested. The modern technology thus opens a broad avenue for development of microscopic self-propelling machines, the use of which is already planned for a variety of bio-medical, chemical and microfluidic applications. The field of biomimetic micromachines also poses new challenges, such as design and optimization of reliable self-propulsion mechanisms or modeling time-dependent boundary conditions in the microfluidic simulations.
Lydéric Bocquet (Université Claude Bernard-Lyon 1) - Organiser
Roland Netz (Freie Universität Berlin) - Organiser
Vladimir Lobaskin (University College Dublin) - Organiser