Effective aspect ratio of helices in shear flow

B Rost and JT Stimatze and DA Egolf and JS Urbach, PHYSICAL REVIEW E, 102, 023103 (2020).

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.102.023103

We report the results of simulations of rigid colloidal helices suspended in a shear flow, using dissipative particle dynamics for a coarse-grained representation of the suspending fluid, as well as deterministic trajectories of non-Brownian helices calculated from the resistance tensor derived under the slender-body approximation. The shear flow produces nonuniform rotation of the helices, similarly to other high aspect ratio particles, such that more elongated helices spend more time aligned with the fluid velocity. We introduce a geometric effective aspect ratio calculated directly from the helix geometry and a dynamical effective aspect ratio derived from the trajectories of the particles and find that the two effective aspect ratios are approximately equal over the entire parameter range tested. We also describe observed transient deflections of the helical axis into the vorticity direction that can occur when the helix is rotating through the gradient direction and that depend on the rotation of the helix about its axis.

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