In biology as well as in industry many fluids contain microstructure endowing in them non-Newtonian rheology. This complex behaviour affects how fluids flow but also how bodies interact with the flow, often yielding markedly different behaviour than Newtonian fluids. A primary interest of ours is trying to model locomotion and fluid-structure interactions in complex fluids.
We study the mechanics of bio-locomotion in fluids, studying how organisms swim in nature. Locomotive means in nature are often optimized to their surroundings and the idea is that by understanding how sperm swim through the female reproductive tract or sand snakes swim through granular media we can first, address biological observations but second, we can think about how to take ideas from nature to produce optimal designs in engineering for example, how to effectively design artificial microorganisms to move through the human body and perform activities such as targeted drug delivery.
Our group is broadly interested in the behaviour of fluid interfaces including membranes and interfaces laden with surfactants. Our recent work in this area explored the relationship between interfacial viscosity and Marangoni flows at surfactant laden interfaces. This is important in areas as diverse as surfactant in lungs to oil dispersants on ocean spills.