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Gyrotactic suppression and emergence of chaotic trajectories of swimming particles in three-dimensional flows

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Andrew BaggaleyORCiD



This is the final published version of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by American Physical Society, 2018.

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We study the effects of imposed three-dimensional flows on the trajectories and mixing of gyrotactic swimming microorganisms and identify phenomena not seen in flows restricted to two dimensions. Through numerical simulation of Taylor-Green and Arnold-Beltrami- Childress (ABC) flows, we explore the role that the flow and the cell shape play in determining the long-term configuration of the cells’ trajectories, which often take the form of multiple sinuous and helical “plumelike” structures, even in the chaotic ABC flow. This gyrotactic suppression of Lagrangian chaos persists even in the presence of random noise. Analytical solutions for a number of cases reveal the how plumes form and the nature of the competition between torques acting on individual cells. Furthermore, studies of Lyapunov exponents reveal that, as the ratio of cell swimming speed relative to the flowspeed increases from zero, the initial chaotic trajectories are first suppressed and then give way to a second unexpected window of chaotic trajectories at speeds greater than unity, before suppression of chaos at high relative swimming speeds.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Heath-Richardson SI, Baggaley AW, Hill NA

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Physical Review Fluids

Year: 2018

Volume: 3

Print publication date: 23/02/2018

Online publication date: 23/02/2018

Acceptance date: 15/01/2018

Date deposited: 26/02/2018

ISSN (electronic): 2469-990X

Publisher: American Physical Society


DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.3.023102


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