Within the first subproject we will study fluid-mediated collective effects in dense and semidilute suspensions of motile microorganisms (typically bacteria and algae) using Lattice-Boltzmann simulations. In particular, these suspensions are known to exhibit hydrodynamic instabilities leading to so-called "bacterial turbulence", a phenomenon which is currently not understood even at a basic level. We will also study the observed enhanced diffusion of passive particles in such suspensions, which is important to mass transport in biological systems (e.g. in bioreactors and the oceans).
The second sub-project concerns field-assisted self-assembly of soft, temperature-responsive colloidal particles into advanced structures such as gels and nanotubes, and in particular the resulting rheological properties of the assembled materials.