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Characterizing mixing dynamics and efficiency of microtubule-based active fluids Public

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Mixing is a critical phenomenon across all length scales. Mixing can be enhanced by increasing the Reynolds number, but this property is related to the characteristic length and fluid speed, which limits mixing on the microscale. There have been many previous studies done to increase mixing rate and mixing efficiency on the microscale by manually increasing the Reynolds number through changing the confinement geometry or an external energy source. To realize more applications, this project attempts to increase the microscale mixing rate without the need for such changes to the system by exploiting an in vitro microtubule-based active fluid. The active fluid is confined side-by-side with a passive fluid and homogenization between the fluids is observed using fluorescent microscopy. The rate of homogenization is determined for various activity levels and compared with a model for diffusion of ATP through Fick’s law, which shows that mixing between the active and passive fluids is diffusion driven. By systematically varying the diffusion model parameters, it is shown that active fluid activity enhances the experimental effective diffusion coefficient for ATP. Additionally, observing the microtubule network along the mixing interface shows unique dynamics between the active and passive regime. While this work failed in increasing microscale mixing rate, the results achieved give new insights into molecular diffusion in microtubule-based active gels and sheds light on macroscopic dynamics of active gels in activity gradients.

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  • etd-21216
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  • 2021
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  • 2021-05-02
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Permanent link to this page: https://digital.wpi.edu/show/mc87pt156