Bacterial turbulence reduction by passive magnetic particle chains

Kuo An Liu, L. I. Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


We report the experimental observation of the bacterial turbulence reduction in dense E. coli suspensions by increasing the coupling of passive particle additives (paramagnetic particles). Applying an external magnetic field induces magnetic dipoles for particles and causes the formation of vertical chain bundles, which are hard for bacterial flows to tilt and break. The larger effective drag coefficient of chains causes slow horizontal motion of chains, which in turn form obstacles to suppress bacterial flows through the strong correlation in coherent bacterial clusters and intercluster interaction. The interruption of the upward energy flow from individual self-propelling bacteria to the larger scale in the bacterial turbulence with multiscaled coherent flow by the chain bundle leads to more severe suppression in the low frequency (wave number) regimes of the power spectra.

Original languageEnglish
Article number033004
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 6 Sep 2013


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