Orientational order and instabilities in suspensions of self-locomoting rods

David Saintillan, Michael J. Shelley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The orientational order and dynamics in suspensions of self-locomoting slender rods are investigated numerically. In agreement with previous theoretical predictions, nematic suspensions of swimming particles are found to be unstable at long wavelengths as a result of hydrodynamic fluctuations. Nevertheless, a local nematic ordering is shown to persist over short length scales and to have a significant impact on the mean swimming speed. The consequences of the large-scale orientational disorder for particle dispersion are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number058102
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jul 30 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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