We combine experiments, large-scale simulations, and continuum models to study the emergence of coherent structures in a suspension of magnetically driven microrollers sedimented near a floor. Collective hydrodynamic effects are predominant in this system, leading to strong density-velocity coupling. We characterize a uniform suspension and show that density waves propagate freely in all directions in a dispersive fashion. When sharp density gradients are introduced in the suspension, we observe the formation of a shock. Unlike Burgers' shocklike structures observed in other active and driven confined hydrodynamic systems, the shock front in our system has a well-defined finite width and moves rapidly compared to the mean suspension velocity. We introduce a continuum model demonstrating that the finite width of the front is due to far-field nonlocal hydrodynamic interactions and governed by a geometric parameter, the average particle height above the floor.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Computational Mechanics
- Modeling and Simulation
- Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes