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Polymers in microchannels

Polymers in microchannels
Buckling is a common phenomena of slender bodies, like long filaments and thin sheets, under an external load. Typically, buckling transitions are considered under equilibrium conditions. The transport of semiflexible polymers in microchannels and capillaries presents a new opportunity to study the non equilibrium behavior of such filaments. Vice versa, a detailed understanding of the dynamical processes involved in such a transport is of paramount importance in many applications, in particular for the flow behavior of many biologically-relevant polymers, such as DNA, actin filaments, and microtubules. Non-equilibrium instabilities can appear under various conditions. We investigate flow fields of spatially varying flow strength. Such a situation is easily realized in flows through spatially-structured microchannels. By mesoscale hydrodynamic simulations, we observe the buckling of a semiflexible polymer as it enters a wider channel section.

Theory of Soft Matter and Biophysics:
R. Chelakkot, R. G. Winkler, and G. Gompper

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