Stigmergic furrowing by an active suspension in a soft substrate

Mohammad Imran, Ranganathan Prabhakar, Raghunath Chelakkot, Mandar M. Inamdar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperOther


“Active fluids”, such as suspensions or colonies of motile bacterial cells, are known to self-organise to create complex patterns. It is of considerable interest to understand how such patterns may be modified by mechanical interactions of an active fluid with its environment. It has been observed that motile bacteria form furrows when confined to move as a monolayer across a soft semi-solid substrate [3]. We propose a particle-based model of active rods moving in a soft, elastically bound substrate. The substrate becomes fluid like after being displaced beyond a critical distance. Simulations show the emergence of permanent furrow networks with a distinctive fractal-like structure. We explain the physical origins of this behaviour through a coarse-grained model of stigmergy - the phenomenon of self-organisation through interactions between agents mediated by their environment.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication22nd Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference, AFMC 2020
EditorsHubert Chanson, Richard Brown
PublisherAustralasian Fluid Mechanics Society
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781742723419
Publication statusPublished - 2020
EventAustralasian Fluid Mechanics Conference 2020 - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 7 Dec 202010 Dec 2020
Conference number: 22nd


ConferenceAustralasian Fluid Mechanics Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleAFMC 2020
Internet address


  • Active fluids
  • Collective behaviour
  • Self-organisation

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