Twist-induced crossover from two-dimensional to three-dimensional turbulence in active nematics

Tyler N. Shendruk, Kristian Thijssen, Julia M. Yeomans, Amin Doostmohammadi

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Abstract

While studies of active nematics in two dimensions have shed light on various aspects of the flow regimes and topology of active matter, three-dimensional properties of topological defects and chaotic flows remain unexplored. By confining a film of active nematics between two parallel plates, we use continuum simulations and analytical arguments to demonstrate that the crossover from quasi-two-dimensional (quasi-2D) to three-dimensional (3D) chaotic flows is controlled by the morphology of the disclination lines. For small plate separations, the active nematic behaves as a quasi-2D material, with straight topological disclination lines spanning the height of the channel and exhibiting effectively 2D active turbulence. Upon increasing channel height, we find a crossover to 3D chaotic flows due to the contortion of disclinations above a critical activity. Above this critical activity highly contorted disclination lines and disclination loops are formed. We further show that these contortions are engendered by twist perturbations producing a sharp change in the curvature of disclinations.
Original languageEnglish
Article number010601
JournalPhysical Review E
Volume98
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jul 2018

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