Chiral Sedimentation

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Our Papers

Fluidized bed
Screening, hyperuniformity, and instability in the sedimentation of irregular objects
Authors: Tomer Goldfriend, Haim Diamant, Thomas A. Witten
Abstract:We study the overdamped sedimentation of non-Brownian objects of irregular shape using fluctuating hydrodynamics. The anisotropic response of the objects to flow, caused by their tendency to align with gravity, directly suppresses concentration and velocity fluctuations. This allows the suspension to avoid the anomalous fluctuations predicted for suspensions of symmetric spheroids. The suppression of concentration fluctuations leads to a correlated, hyperuniform structure. For certain object shapes, the anisotropic response may act in the opposite direction, destabilizing uniform sedimentation.

Swirling a liquid from within

    Pouring a powder into a glass of water sets off a swirling motion as the powder grains settle under gravity. The heavy grains entrain water as they drift down, dragging one another into chaotic motion. Even a uniformly stirred, resting liquid starts to swirl as gravity begins to act. Now scientists in Israel and the US have identified a way to control this swirling by adding shaped particles to the powder. They found shapes that reduce the swirling and shapes that enhance it. The shaped particles work by gliding sideways as they fall, thus reducing or increasing the slight variations of weight that cause the swirling. Industrial reactors use suspended powders to clean up water and promote chemical reactions. Shaped powders give engineers a new handle to improve the performance of these reactors.
receding bodies
Hydrodynamic Interactions between Two Forced Objects of Arbitrary Shape: II Relative Translation
Authors: Tomer Goldfriend, Haim Diamant, Thomas A. Witten
Abstract: We study the relative translation of two arbitrarily shaped objects, caused by their hydrodynamic interaction as they are forced through a viscous fluid in the limit of zero Reynolds number. It is well known that in the case of two rigid spheres in an unbounded fluid, the hydrodynamic interaction does not produce relative translation. More generally such an effective pair-interaction vanishes in configurations with spatial inversion symmetry, for example, an enantiomeric pair of arbitrary shape does not develop relative translation instantaneously. We show that the breaking of inversion symmetry by boundaries of the system accounts for the interactions between two spheres in confined geometries, as observed in experiments. The same general principle also provides new predictions for interactions in other object configurations near obstacles. We examine the time-dependent relative translation of two self-aligning objects, extending the numerical analysis of our preceding publication [Goldfriend, Diamant and Witten, arXiv:1502.00221 (2015)]. The interplay between the orientational interaction and the translational one, in most cases, leads over time to repulsion between the two objects. The repulsion is qualitatively different for self-aligning objects compared to the more symmetric case of uniform prolate spheroids. The separation between the two objects increases with time t as t1/3 in the former case, and more strongly, as t, in the latter.
interacting trajectories
Hydrodynamic Interactions between Two Forced Objects of Arbitrary Shape: I Effect on Alignment
Authors: Tomer Goldfriend, Haim Diamant, Thomas A. Witten
Abstract: We study the properties and symmetries governing the hydrodynamic interaction between two identical, arbitrarily shaped objects, driven through a viscous fluid. We treat analytically the leading (dipolar) terms of the pair-mobility matrix, affecting the instantaneous relative linear and angular velocities of the two objects at large separation. We find that the ability to align asymmetric objects by an external time-dependent drive [Moths and Witten, Phys. Rev. Lett. 110, 028301 (2013)] is degraded by the hydrodynamic interaction. The effects of hydrodynamic interactions are explicitly demonstrated through numerically calculated time-dependent trajectories of model alignable objects composed of four stokeslets. In addition to the orientational effect, we find that the two objects generally repel each other, thus restoring full alignment at long times.
21 pages, 7 figures
alignment fixed points
Orientational ordering of colloidal dispersions by application of time dependent external forces, Brian Moths and T. A. Witten.   This paper extends and amplifies the results of the PRL below.  It proves conditions for alignment in greater detail and shows that the ability to align extends much beyond the range of these proofs.  Physical Review E 88, 022307 (2013) [15 pages] .
Full alignment of colloidal objects by programmed forcing , Brian Moths, T. A. Witten.  In this paper, we examine the rotation exhibited by an asymmetric colloidal object as it falls through a viscous medium. Given other physical systems where the orientational degrees of freedom of an ensemble can be intimately controlled by a uniform external forcing (one example being NMR), we ask if the same is possible for an ensemble of colloids. The first task one would attempt might be to align the members of an ensemble. Previous work has shown that orientational alignment of an ensemble up to rotations about an axis is possible using constant forcing. In this work, we describe two methods of aligning by a time-dependent but spatially uniform forcing.  We go on to briefly discuss the possible realizations and limitations of these methods.Physical Review Letters, vol. 110, Issue 2, id. 028301 (2012)  DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.028301
plastic sedimenter
Chiral sedimentation of extended objects in viscous media We study theoretically the chirality of a generic rigid object's sedimentation in a fluid under gravity in the low Reynolds number regime. We represent the object as a collection of small Stokes spheres or stokeslets, and the gravitational force as a constant point force applied at an arbitrary point of the object. For a generic configuration of stokeslets and forcing point, the motion takes a simple form in the nearly free draining limit where the stokeslet radius is arbitrarily small. In this case, the internal hydrodynamic interactions between stokeslets are weak, and the object follows a helical path while rotating at a constant angular velocity $\omega$ about a fixed axis. This $\omega$ is independent of initial orientation, and thus constitutes a chiral response for the object. Even though there can be no such chiral response in the absence of hydrodynamic interactions between the stokeslets, the angular velocity obtains a fixed, nonzero limit as the stokeslet radius approaches zero. We characterize empirically how $\omega$ depends on the placement of the stokeslets, concentrating on three-stokeslet objects with the external force applied far from the stokeslets. Objects with the largest $\omega$ are aligned along the forcing direction. In this case, the limiting $\omega$ varies as the inverse square of the minimum distance between stokeslets. We illustrate the prevalence of this robust chiral motion with experiments on small macroscopic objects of arbitrary shape.


Trajectories of an irregular object sinking in a viscous fluid, showing chiral sedimentation [Nathan Krapf, unpublished]. The object, based on the molecular structure of the protein CD2AP from the NCBI Entrez Gene data base, is pictured in the inset. The cyan trajectory at left shows the trajectory expected for the actual object, pulled at its center of mass. Successive trajectories show the effect of displacing the center of mass from its actual location along the rainbow line in the inset, keeping a fixed initial orientation . Typically the object quickly reaches a state of periodic twisting motion. In narrow regions this regular twisting gives way to irregular tumbling. This chiral sedimentation response is a potential tool for characterizing chiral shapes of colloidal objects. Nathan Krapf, working with Prof. Tom Witten, explored the connection between shape and chiral sedimentation in N. Krapf and T. A. Witten, Phys. Rev. E 79, 056307 (2009)

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