A fast Chebyshev method for the Bingham closure with application to active nematic suspensions

Scott Weady, Michael J. Shelley, David B. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Continuum kinetic theories provide an important tool for the analysis and simulation of particle suspensions. When those particles are anisotropic, the addition of a particle orientation vector to the kinetic description yields a 2d−1 dimensional theory which becomes intractable to simulate, especially in three dimensions or near states where the particles are highly aligned. Coarse-grained theories that track only moments of the particle distribution functions provide a more efficient simulation framework, but require closure assumptions. For the particular case where the particles are apolar, the Bingham closure has been found to agree well with the underlying kinetic theory; yet the closure is non-trivial to compute, requiring the solution of an often nearly-singular nonlinear equation at every spatial discretization point at every timestep. In this paper, we present a robust, accurate, and efficient numerical scheme for evaluating the Bingham closure, with a controllable error/efficiency tradeoff. To demonstrate the utility of the method, we carry out high-resolution simulations of a coarse-grained continuum model for a suspension of active particles in parameter regimes inaccessible to kinetic theories. Analysis of these simulations reveals that inaccurately computing the closure can act to effectively limit spatial resolution in the coarse-grained fields. Pushing these simulations to the high spatial resolutions enabled by our method reveals a coupling between vorticity and topological defects in the suspension director field, as well as signatures of energy transfer between scales in this active fluid model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110937
JournalJournal of Computational Physics
StatePublished - May 15 2022


  • Active matter
  • Closure model
  • Continuum kinetic theory
  • Particle suspensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Numerical Analysis
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)
  • General Physics and Astronomy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computational Mathematics
  • Applied Mathematics


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