*****TECHNICAL ABSTRACT***** This project utilizes the tracking of particles and cells for novel investigations of complex nonlinear systems. One project is a study of the fluid dynamics of swimming single celled swimming organisms that utilize molecular motors contained within twin flagella to propel themselves through a fluid. Investigations are planned of the induced velocity fields and mixing produced by swimming cells, their interactions with each other, collective behavior, the mechanics of the deforming flagella, and the confinement of cells by light. This work will extend our understanding of the fluid dynamics and statistical physics of microorganisms. A second investigation explores the deformation and failure of sheared layers of cohesive particles, which provides a promising model system for understanding the mechanical failure of disordered solids. This work includes the training of undergraduate investigators learning how to conduct independent research and postdoctoral scholars learning how to mentor students successfully. The work on swimmers is connected to certain diseases involving abnormalities of flagellar function, and the work on failure modes of packings can contribute to the improvement of particulate-based materials.

Nontechnical Abstract

This project utilizes the video tracking of particles and biological cells for novel investigations of complex systems. One project explores the behavior of swimming single-celled organisms that utilize molecular motors contained within protrusions called flagella to propel themselves through the surrounding fluid. This work may eventually lead to insight into diseases involving abnormalities of flagellar function. Investigations are planned of the fluid mixing produced by swimming cells, their interactions with each other, the deformations of their flagella, and their confinement by light. A second investigation studies the deformation and breaking of layers of cohesive particles, which could contribute to the design of solids that are especially strong. All of this work includes undergraduate investigators learning how to conduct independent research and postdoctoral scholars learning how to mentor students successfully. The Principal Investigator is also deeply involved in projects designed to improve undergraduate physics education.

Agency
National Science Foundation (NSF)
Institute
Division of Materials Research (DMR)
Type
Standard Grant (Standard)
Application #
1104705
Program Officer
Guebre X. Tessema
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
2011-07-01
Budget End
2014-06-30
Support Year
Fiscal Year
2011
Total Cost
$360,000
Indirect Cost
Name
Haverford College
Department
Type
DUNS #
City
Haverford
State
PA
Country
United States
Zip Code
19041