Linear stability of an active fluid interface

Amarender Nagilla, Ranganathan Prabhakar, Sameer Jadhav

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Motivated by studies suggesting that the patterns exhibited by the collectively expanding fronts of thin cells during the closing of a wound [S. Mark et al., "Physical model of the dynamic instability in an expanding cell culture," Biophys. J. 98(3), 361-370 (2010)] and the shapes of single cells crawling on surfaces [A. C. Callan-Jones et al., "Viscous-fingering-like instability of cell fragments," Phys. Rev. Lett. 100(25), 258106 (2008)] are due to fingering instabilities, we investigate the stability of actively driven interfaces under the Hele-Shaw confinement. An initially radial interface between a pair of viscous fluids is driven by active agents. Surface tension and bending rigidity resist the deformation of the interface. A point source at the origin and a distributed source are also included to model the effects of injection or suction and growth or depletion, respectively. Linear stability analysis reveals that for any given initial radius of the interface, there are two key dimensionless driving rates that determine interfacial stability. We discuss stability regimes in a state space of these parameters and their implications for biological systems. An interesting finding is that an actively mobile interface is susceptible to the fingering instability irrespective of viscosity contrast.

Original languageEnglish
Article number022109
Number of pages7
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2018

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