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Bacterial fluid dynamics

Friday, February 19, 2021
3:00pm to 4:00pm
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Eric Lauga
Eric Lauga, Professor, Department of Applied Mathematics, University of Cambridge,

Bacteria self-propel in fluids using a complex apparatus called flagella. In each flagellum, a specialised motor rotates a helical filament located outside the cell; the rotation of each motor is transmitted to a short flexible segment called the hook which in turn transmits it to a flagellar filament, enabling viscous propulsion and swimming of the whole cell. In this talk I will highlight recent work from my group on the locomotion of bacteria where flows and hydrodynamic interactions lead to self-organisation and instabilities. I will first summarise an investigation on the collective dynamics of confined bacteria that are biased to swim in a preferred direction. I will next show how the the swimming of cells with multiple flagella is enabled by an elastohydrodynamic instability. I will finally explain how wall-cell hydrodynamic interaction can lead to a transition to a wall-bound state for the swimming bacteria.

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