NSF Postdoctoral Fellow
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
The Lubricated Immersed Boundary Method
Many real-world examples of fluid-structure interaction, including the transit of red blood cells through the narrow slits in the spleen, involve the near-contact of elastic structures separated by thin layers of fluid. The separation of length scales between these fine lubrication layers and the larger elastic objects poses significant computational challenges. Motivated by the challenge of resolving such multiscale problems, we introduce an immersed boundary method that uses elements of lubrication theory to resolve thin fluid layers between immersed boundaries. We apply this method to two-dimensional flows of increasing complexity, including eccentric rotating cylinders and elastic vesicles near walls in shear flow, to show its increased accuracy compared to the classical immersed boundary method. We present preliminary simulation results of cell suspensions, a problem in which near-contact occurs at multiple levels, such as cell-wall, cell-cell, and intracellular interactions, to highlight the importance of resolving thin fluid layers in order to obtain the correct overall dynamics.