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Tam Family Colloquium

Lisa Fauci
Tulane University

Title: Swimming, buckling, mixing, breaking: adventures with helices at the microscale
Date: Friday, April 21, 2023
Place and Time: LOV 101, 3:05-3:55 pm


The motion of passive or actuated elastic filaments in a fluid environment is a common element in many biological and engineered systems. Examples at the microscale include bacterial flagella propelling a cell body and engineered helical nanopropellers designed to penetrate mucosal tissue for drug delivery. Complex fluid environments, such as polymeric networks or confining geometries, can have dramatic effects upon the dynamics of filaments, whether rigid or flexible. In this talk we will present mathematical models of a few intriguing systems: actin-like fibers in straining flows that spontaneously buckle into helices, flexible helical filaments whose swimming performance improve when confined to a narrow tube, and rigid helical filaments that penetrate a polymeric network with the ability to remodel the material properties of the network as it moves through it.