Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New method for measuring fluid flow in algae could herald revolution for fluid mechanics

09.02.2010
In the words of Todd Squires, of the University of California, Santa Barbara "Nature has long inspired researchers in fluid mechanics to explore the mechanical strategies used by living creatures. Where better to look for innovative solutions to a technological challenge than to organisms that have had millions of years to devise strategies for related challenges?"

Now two research groups from the University of Cambridge, led by Professor Ray Goldstein of the Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, and Professor Lynn Gladden of the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, have done just that. Their findings are published in volume 642 of Journal of Fluid Mechanics, published by Cambridge University Press.

They have studied the giant cells of the Characean algae – cells that can measure up to 10cm in length and 1mm in diameter. This exceptional size makes the standard methods of distributing material within cells impossible, so Characean algae have long been known to employ ‘conveyor belts’ along their cellular walls to move food and waste around. It is the spatial distribution of the velocity of this movement that has been measured for the first time using state-of-the art magnetic resonance imaging techniques.

The impact of their discoveries and research techniques will be far-reaching. Professor Squires comments: “[The methods used] are incredibly powerful and have the potential to revolutionise our understanding of a wide range of environmentally and industrially relevant fluid flows. The technique is completely non-invasive, requires no flow tracers and can be performed in non-transparent materials."

Looking to the future, Professor Squires stated that this study ‘should serve as a potent reminder that the immense variety of organisms on Earth contains a wealth of expertise that may be mined for biomimetic [i.e. nature-imitating] solutions.’

Hannah Gregory | alfa
Further information:
http://journals.cambridge.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Making fuel out of thick air
08.12.2017 | DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

nachricht ‘Spying’ on the hidden geometry of complex networks through machine intelligence
08.12.2017 | Technische Universität Dresden

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>