- Dynamics and statistics of hydrodynamically interacting particles in laminar flows (2011)
- The subject of this thesis is the investigation of the dynamics and statistics of hydrodynamically interacting particles in low Reynolds number flows, which is discussed in three interrelated themes. The first theme focuses on polymer fractionation. With our basic model we explore the possibility to sort dumbbells with respect to their size using a two dimensional periodic potential. It turns out that the purely diffusive behavior of a dumbbell in this structured landscape is dominated by the ratio of two characteristic length scales, namely the wavelength of the potential l and the size of the dumbbell b. We explain why the diffusion constant in the potential plane shows a pronounced local maximum around l/b equal 3/2. Furthermore, the influence of the spring rigidity and the hydrodynamic interaction on the diffusive motion are examined as well as the dumbbell statistics. If the dumbbell is driven by an external flow through the periodic landscape two different kinds of motion occur: transport along a potential valley and a stair-like motion oblique to the trenches. In the latter case, the dumbbell jumps regularly to a neighboring valley which results in an effective deflection. The onset of the oblique movement as well as the deflection angle beta depend on the hydrodynamic interaction, on the ratio l/b, and on the Brownian motion of the beads. Especially the significant dependence of beta on l/b enables particle sorting. The results are published. The second theme deals with the Brownian dynamics in shear flows. Here, we investigate the correlations of particle fluctuations in order to characterize the direct interplay between thermal motion, hydrodynamic interactions, and non-uniform flows.With respect to the experimental implementation the particles are caught by harmonic potentials. First, we consider one trapped Brownian bead in linear shear and Poiseuille flows. The correlation functions of the particle’s position and velocity fluctuations are calculated analytically. The main result is the occurrence of shear-induced cross-correlations between orthogonal fluctuations in the shear plane which are asymmetric in time. Moreover, the positional probability distribution, P(r), of a single bead in both types of flow is determined. In Poiseuille flow, where no analytical solutions can be obtained, we use perturbation expansions to derive formulas for P(r) that are valuable for the analysis of experimental data. In the case of a linear shear flow, a connection between the static correlations and the distribution functions is derived which allows a consistency check between independent measurements. Considering a system with several Brownian particles it is obvious that hydrodynamic interactions influence the correlations. In order to investigate this effect, we calculate the positional correlation functions for a setup of two trapped Brownian beads which are exposed to a linear shear flow. As expected, the one-particle correlations change compared to the single particle case described above. They depend on the distance between the two beads. In addition, we find inter-particle correlations between orthogonal positional fluctuations of different particles. The structure of these new cross-correlations depends significantly on the relative orientation of the two beads in the shear flow. They can have zero, one, or two local extrema as a function of time. In collaboration with Prof. Wagner from Saarbrücken some of our predictions are already confirmed by experiments, where polystyrene beads are caught by optical traps and simultaneously exposed to linear shear flows in a special microfluidic device. The results are published and further investigations are in progress.The third theme concentrates on the rheology of colloidal suspensions. Our deterministic model system consists of Hookean dumbbells suspended in a confined Newtonian fluid under constant shear. We perform a numerical study using fluid particle dynamics simulations, where the effective viscosity of the suspension, eta, and the dumbbell statistics are determined. The investigations on the tumbling motion of a single dumbbell reveals that eta is influenced by three different contributions: the volume fraction occupied by the dumbbell, the hydrodynamic interaction between the beads, and elastic correlation effects. For a suspension of independent spheres we observe in our simulations that the viscosity, as a function of the volume fraction Phi, differs from the prediction of Einstein, Batchelor and Green if Phi becomes larger than 8%. Replacing the beads by dumbbells leads to an increase of eta , which depends significantly on the length of the springs connecting the two beads. The distribution function for the orientation angle of the dumbbells indicates the complex motion of the individual objects in the suspension, which may lead to the so-called elastic turbulence, as experimentally discovered by Groisman and Steinberg.