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Active Viscoelastic Matter: From Bacterial Drag Reduction to Turbulent Solids

Hemingway, E.J.; Maitra, A.; Banerjee, S.; Marchetti, M.C.; Ramaswamy, S.; Fielding, S.M.; Cates, M.E.

Active Viscoelastic Matter: From Bacterial Drag Reduction to Turbulent Solids Thumbnail


E.J. Hemingway

A. Maitra

S. Banerjee

M.C. Marchetti

S. Ramaswamy

M.E. Cates


A paradigm for internally driven matter is the active nematic liquid crystal, whereby the equations of a conventional nematic are supplemented by a minimal active stress that violates time-reversal symmetry. In practice, active fluids may have not only liquid-crystalline but also viscoelastic polymer degrees of freedom. Here we explore the resulting interplay by coupling an active nematic to a minimal model of polymer rheology. We find that adding a polymer can greatly increase the complexity of spontaneous flow, but can also have calming effects, thereby increasing the net throughput of spontaneous flow along a pipe (a “drag-reduction” effect). Remarkably, active turbulence can also arise after switching on activity in a sufficiently soft elastomeric solid.


Hemingway, E., Maitra, A., Banerjee, S., Marchetti, M., Ramaswamy, S., Fielding, S., & Cates, M. (2015). Active Viscoelastic Matter: From Bacterial Drag Reduction to Turbulent Solids. Physical Review Letters, 114(9), Article 098302.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Mar 5, 2015
Deposit Date Mar 11, 2015
Publicly Available Date Apr 13, 2015
Journal Physical Review Letters
Print ISSN 0031-9007
Electronic ISSN 1079-7114
Publisher American Physical Society
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 114
Issue 9
Article Number 098302


Published Journal Article (1 Mb)

Copyright Statement
Reprinted with permission from the American Physical Society: Phys. Rev. Lett. 114, 098302 © 2015 by the American Physical Society. Readers may view, browse, and/or download material for temporary copying purposes only, provided these uses are for noncommercial personal purposes. Except as provided by law, this material may not be further reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, adapted, performed, displayed, published, or sold in whole or part, without prior written permission from the American Physical Society.

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