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Dispersion of swimming algae in laminar and turbulent channel flows: consequences for photobioreactors
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Mechanics. KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Centres, Linné Flow Center, FLOW. (Swedish E-Science Research Center (SeRC))ORCID iD: 0000-0002-9172-6311
KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Mechanics. KTH, School of Engineering Sciences (SCI), Centres, Linné Flow Center, FLOW. (Swedish E-Science Research Center (SeRC))
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2013 (English)In: Journal of the Royal Society Interface, ISSN 1742-5689, E-ISSN 1742-5662, Vol. 10, no 81, 20121041- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Shear flow significantly affects the transport of swimming algae in suspension. For example, viscous and gravitational torques bias bottom-heavy cells to swim towards regions of downwelling fluid (gyrotaxis). It is necessary to understand how such biases affect algal dispersion in natural and industrial flows, especially in view of growing interest in algal photobioreactors. Motivated by this, we here study the dispersion of gyrotactic algae in laminar and turbulent channel flows using direct numerical simulation (DNS) and a previously published analytical swimming dispersion theory. Time-resolved dispersion measures are evaluated as functions of the Peclet and Reynolds numbers in upwelling and downwelling flows. For laminar flows, DNS results are compared with theory using competing descriptions of biased swimming cells in shear flow. Excellent agreement is found for predictions that employ generalized Taylor dispersion. The results highlight peculiarities of gyrotactic swimmer dispersion relative to passive tracers. In laminar downwelling flow the cell distribution drifts in excess of the mean flow, increasing in magnitude with Peclet number. The cell effective axial diffusivity increases and decreases with Peclet number (for tracers it merely increases). In turbulent flows, gyrotactic effects are weaker, but discernable and manifested as non-zero drift. These results should have a significant impact on photobioreactor design.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 10, no 81, 20121041- p.
Keyword [en]
algae, swimming micro-organisms, Taylor dispersion, direct numerical simulation, turbulent transport, photobioreactors
National Category
Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-119718DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2012.1041ISI: 000315199800024Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-84875729661OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-119718DiVA: diva2:612762
Funder
Swedish e‐Science Research Center
Note

QC 20130325

Available from: 2013-03-25 Created: 2013-03-21 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved

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Sardina, GaetanoBrandt, Luca

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