School of Mathematics, Statistics and Physics

Biological Fluid Dynamics

Biological fluid dynamics is an active, visible, and exciting area of fluid dynamics research.

Studies in areas range from the human cardiovascular system, to aquatic animal propulsion, to the fluid dynamics of how canines drink!

Our primary focus is the fluid dynamics of swimming micro-organisms such as single-celled algae and bacteria. Perhaps the most striking example of this is Bioconvection, the spontaneous formation of patterns due to an active suspensions of such organisms.

Whilst the primary reason for our interest in this field is a curiosity driven desire to understand the natural world, there are also many industrial applications. Algae in particular contain a high lipid content (around 60% of their total mass) which can be extracted and converted into biodiesel through a process similar to that used for any other vegetable oil. Understanding the fluid dynamics of these organisms is a crucial element to optimise the design of so-called bioreactors.