Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

What Happens When Worms Stick Together?

09.02.2011
Nematodes, microscopic worms, are making engineers look twice at their ability to exhibit the “Cheerios effect” when they move in a collective motion.

These parasites will actually stick together like Cheerios swimming in milk in a cereal bowl after a chance encounter “due to capillary force.” This observation has made Virginia Tech engineers speculate about the possible impacts on the study of biolocomotion.

Their work appears in the journal, Soft Matter, a publication of the Royal Society of Chemistry, the week of Feb. 7. Soft Matter is the premier journal in the ongoing multidisciplinary work between physics, material science, and biology. http://www.rsc.org/Publishing/Journals/sm/News/impactfactor_2009.asp

Two Harvard physicists first defined the Cheerios effect. In 2005, Dominic Vella and Lakshminarayanan Mahadevan wrote an article on this activity, defined by scientists as relating to fluid mechanics, in the Journal of Physics. They cited its usefulness in the study of self-assembly of small structures. Self-assembly is used in the science of nanotechnology.

Dominic Vella who now teaches at the University of Oxford, United Kingdom, collaborated with Sunghwan “Sunny” Jung, an assistant professor of engineering science and mechanics at Virginia Tech, and his student, Sean Gart, of Salem, Va., a senior in engineering science and mechanics, and authored the new paper, “The collective motion of nematodes in a thin liquid layer.”

Their work highlights the behaviors of the nematode Panagrellus redivivus, a creature that feeds on bacteria, in a watery liquid layer that is thinner than a human hair. In this environment the nematodes crawl by creating waves that travel backwards down their body, and the force pushes them forward.

“The inspiration for the project came when we observed the nematodes crawling up the side of their container and sticking together. We knew part of the reason for this behavior was due to the capillary force, the same force that causes Cheerios to stick together in a cereal bowl, but we wanted to see whether or not the nematodes moved faster or more efficiently while stuck together,” Jung and Gart explained.

“Thin water refers to the air/liquid interface. Like Cheerios in milk, the nematodes are aggregating on top of the air surface, not on the bulk or on the bottom,” Jung said.

Gart has been working in Virginia Tech’s Biologically Inspired Fluids Laboratory directed by Jung since last summer. Gart found that the nematodes did not crawl faster or more efficiently while stuck together.

“This is an interesting behavior that has not been studied very widely in the biolocomotion field,” Jung said. “The result implies that nematodes gain neither a mechanical advantage nor disadvantage by being grouped together. The capillary forces merely keep them together after a chance encounter. This result also extends a better understanding of capillary effects in colloidal particles in engineering systems such as pickering emulsions. These emulsions are stabilized by solid particles. An example would be homogenized milk.”

Read the article at http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2011/SM/C0SM01236J

Lynn A. Nystrom | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu

Further reports about: Cheerios Soft Matter Soft Skills capillary force microscopic worms nematodes

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery
20.01.2017 | GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH

nachricht Seeking structure with metagenome sequences
20.01.2017 | DOE/Joint Genome Institute

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>