Regular Article - Flowing Matter
Multiparticle collision dynamics simulations of a squirmer in a nematic fluid
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati, 781039, Guwahati, Assam, India
2 Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Am Fassberg 17, 37077, Göttingen, Germany
3 Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical Modelling and Department of Mathematical Sciences, Loughborough University, Leicestershire LE11 3TU, Loughborough, United Kingdom
Accepted: 16 April 2021
Published online: 3 May 2021
We study the dynamics of a squirmer in a nematic liquid crystal using the multiparticle collision dynamics (MPCD) method. A recently developed nematic MPCD method [Phys. Rev. E 99, 063319 (2019)] which employs a tensor order parameter to describe the spatial and temporal variations of the nematic order is used to simulate the suspending anisotropic fluid. Considering both nematodynamic effects (anisotropic viscosity and elasticity) and thermal fluctuations, in the present study, we couple the nematic MPCD algorithm with a molecular dynamics (MD) scheme for the squirmer. A unique feature of the proposed method is that the nematic order, the fluid, and the squirmer are all represented in a particle-based framework. To test the applicability of this nematic MPCD-MD method, we simulate the dynamics of a spherical squirmer with homeotropic surface anchoring conditions in a bulk domain. The importance of anisotropic viscosity and elasticity on the squirmer’s speed and orientation is studied for different values of self-propulsion strength and squirmer type (pusher, puller or neutral). In sharp contrast to Newtonian fluids, the speed of the squirmer in a nematic fluid depends on the squirmer type. Interestingly, the speed of a strong pusher is smaller in the nematic fluid than for the Newtonian case. The orientational dynamics of the squirmer in the nematic fluid also shows a non-trivial dependence on the squirmer type. Our results compare well with existing experimental and numerical data. The full particle-based framework could be easily extended to model the dynamics of multiple squirmers in anisotropic fluids.
© The Author(s) 2021
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