PhD project: Active-Nematic/Polymeric Composites

Project description

The origins of life are thought to involve carbon-based macromolecules subjected to far-from-equilibrium conditions. Today, their descendent intracellular biopolymers are exposed to countless active processes, due to living cells transmuting internally stored energy into the work of life. Yet, while living systems are governed by this activity, polymer physics is dominated by a tendency to adopt maximum-entropy configurations. Your project will seek to understand this fundamental competition between physics (entropic forces) and biology (active forces).

You will explore the effect of different polymeric structures and ask how different structures can interact with the surrounding fluid to produce active flows and self-propulsion. By introducing internal degrees of freedom, non-linear coupling between solute shape and active flows are expected to emerge from novel numerical simulations. Group members work in a collaborative and intradisciplinary environment, and become familiar with cutting-edge modelling techniques over the course of their research.

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