Theoretical and Applied Mechanics Letters Seminar Series

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Title: Single-particle dynamics in a low-Reynolds-number fluid under spherical confinement

Date: 16th January 2024

Times: 19:00 (Beijing); 11:00 (London); 06:00 (New York)

Presenter: Dr. Xikai Jiang, Associate Professor at the Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), China

Host: Prof. Rui Zhang, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong

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Dr. Xikai Jiang is an Associate Professor in the Institute of Mechanics, Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). Before joining CAS, Dr. Jiang was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory working with Prof. Juan J. de Pablo. A member of the Micro/nanofluidics Group in the State Key Laboratory of Nonlinear Mechanics, Dr. Jiang is interested in studying transport phenomena in micro/nanofluids at multiple scales using numerical simulations. Specific research areas include particulate transport in low-Reynolds-number fluids and ionic transport in room-temperature ionic liquids. He has published papers in journals such as J. Fluid Mech., J. Phys. Chem. Lett., J. Chem. Phys., and ACS Nano, and developed Continuum-Particle Simulation Software as a core developer. His recent work was supported by the Young Elite Scientists Sponsorship Program by the Chinese Society of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and the CAS International Collaboration Program.


Non-colloidal dynamics of a single particle suspended in a low-Reynolds-number fluid under spherical confinement was studied numerically. We calculated hydrodynamic mobilities of a sphere, a prolate spheroid and an oblate spheroid parallel and transverse to the particle-cavity line of centres. The mobilities show maximum in the cavity centre and decay as the particle moves towards the no-slip wall. For prolate and oblate spheroids, their mobilities are also affected by the angle between the particle's axis of revolution and the particle-cavity line of centres due to particle anisotropy. It was observed that the effect of particle anisotropy becomes stronger as the confinement level increases. When the external force on the particle is not parallel or transverse to the particle-cavity line of centres, a drift velocity perpendicular to the force occurs because of the confinement-induced anisotropy of the mobility in the cavity. The normalized drift velocity depends on the particle location, size, shape and orientation of the non-spherical particle. We also studied the motion of a non-neutrally buoyant particle under external forces in a rotating flow inside the cavity. Cooperation between the external force, rotation-induced centrifugal or centripetal force and the force from particle-wall interactions leads to multiple modes of particle motion. A fundamental understanding of single-particle dynamics in this work forms the basis for studying more complex particle dynamics in intracellular transport, and can guide particle manipulation in microfluidic applications ranging from droplet-based microreactors to microfluidic encapsulation.