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Centre for Materials Physics

 Centre for Materials Physics

Materials Physics is one of the largest, most diverse and dynamic fields in modern physics, encompassing all aspects of the solid and liquids states of matter. This breadth is reflected in the research undertaken at Durham which spans a wide range of subjects from light emitting polymers and solar cell materials to nanoscale magnetics.

Active Viscoelastic Matter: From Bacterial Drag Reduction to Turbulent Solids

The figure shows a snapshot of active turbulence.

Published in Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 098302 (2015)

There has been much recent interest in so called 'active matter', i.e., materials that are capable of powering themselves through a fluid using an internal fuel supply. Examples include shoals of fish, suspensions of swarming bacteria, or cell extracts that comprise of groups of molecular motors and long filaments. Many previous studies have examined the stability and fluid dynamics of these types of materials in the presence of a simple Newtonian solvent such as water. We have derived a new model that instead places active matter in a non-Newtonian fluid background. This allows us to better capture the biological environments that these materials typically encounter, e.g., in complex polymeric fluids such as mucus. We analytically examine the stability of our model by looking for the response of the flow field to small perturbations, and then run 2D simulations to verify our findings. These simulations reveal a rich array of fascinating behaviours, including oscillatory states and 'active turbulence'.

(18 Jan 2016)



Centre for Materials Physics

The Centre for Materials Physics encompasses several research groups, covering a wide range of theoretical and experimental physics. These are divided into three main research themes:

Durham has a long tradition of welcoming excellent students from all over the world. If you are thinking of applying to Durham University, of course you should look through these web pages at the research and training (and in particular our Ph.D Booklet and Ph.D handbook), but also try to speak with some of our alumni, they are our greatest ambassadors.