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Correlation lengths in hydrodynamic models of active nematics

Hemingway, E.J.; Mishra, P; Marchetti, M.C.; Fielding, S.M.

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E.J. Hemingway

P Mishra

M.C. Marchetti


We examine the scaling with activity of the emergent length scales that control the nonequilibrium dynamics of an active nematic liquid crystal, using two popular hydrodynamic models that have been employed in previous studies. In both models we find that the chaotic spatio-temporal dynamics in the regime of fully developed active turbulence is controlled by a single active scale determined by the balance of active and elastic stresses, regardless of whether the active stress is extensile or contractile in nature. The observed scaling of the kinetic energy and enstrophy with activity is consistent with our single-length scale argument and simple dimensional analysis. Our results provide a unified understanding of apparent discrepancies in the previous literature and demonstrate that the essential physics is robust to the choice of model.


Hemingway, E., Mishra, P., Marchetti, M., & Fielding, S. (2016). Correlation lengths in hydrodynamic models of active nematics. Soft Matter, 12(38), 7943-7952.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Aug 22, 2016
Online Publication Date Sep 2, 2016
Publication Date Oct 14, 2016
Deposit Date Sep 28, 2016
Publicly Available Date Aug 22, 2017
Journal Soft Matter
Print ISSN 1744-683X
Electronic ISSN 1744-6848
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 38
Pages 7943-7952
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