Nearly close-packed populations of the swimming bacterium Bacillus subtilis form a collective phase, the "Zooming BioNematic" (ZBN). This state exhibits large-scale orientational coherence, analogous to the molecular alignment of nematic liquid crystals, coupled with remarkable spatial and temporal correlations of velocity and vorticity, as measured by both novel and standard applications of particle imaging velocimetry. The appearance of turbulent dynamics in a system which is nominally in the regime of Stokes flow can be understood by accounting for the local energy input by the swimmers, with a new dimensionless ratio analogous to the Reynolds number. The interaction between organisms and boundaries, and with one another, is modeled by application of the methods of regularized Stokeslets.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computational Mechanics
- Mechanics of Materials
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes