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Simulations of Brownian tracer transport in squirmer suspensions

Abstract : In addition to enabling movement towards environments with favourable living conditions, swimming by microorganisms has also been linked to enhanced mixing and improved nutrient uptake by their populations. Experimental studies have shown that Brownian tracer particles exhibit enhanced diffusion due to the swimmers, while theoretical models have linked this increase in diffusion to the flows generated by the swimming microorganisms, as well as collisions with the swimmers. In this study, we perform detailed simulations based on the force-coupling method and its recent extensions to the swimming and Brownian particles to examine tracer displacements and effective tracer diffusivity in squirmer suspensions. By isolating effects such as hydrodynamic or steric interactions, we provide physical insight into experimental measurements of the tracer displacement distribution. In addition, we extend results to the semi-dilute regime where the swimmer–swimmer interactions affect tracer transport and the effective tracer diffusivity no longer scales linearly with the swimmer volume fraction.
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Blaise Delmotte, Eric E Keaveny, Éric Climent, Franck Plouraboué. Simulations of Brownian tracer transport in squirmer suspensions. IMA Journal of Applied Mathematics, Oxford University Press (OUP), 2018, 83 (4), pp.680-699. ⟨10.1093/imamat/hxy012⟩. ⟨hal-02134650⟩

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