Using numerical simulations, we help devolping a new mechanism for microscopic, swimming robots. The mechanism is based on the buckling and debuckling of air-filled elastic balls. Together with researchers of the french Université Grenoble Alpes, we use simulations to improve understanding of this new swimming technique and to explore potential applications.
Growth of cell colonies
We investigate the growth of cell colonies by cell division. To this end, we developed a biological Phase-Field-Crystal model that describes cells as freely moving, elastic particles that can grow and divide dependent on mechanical pressure.
Numerical simulations are used to understand the interplay of cell mechanics and growth.
Simulation of biological cells in flow
We develop new mathematical models to simulate biological cells with a special focus on cell mechanical features. The project results are used for a new method of ultra-fast cell diagnosics to detect diseases and to evaluate new medical treatments.
Simulation of lung growth
During genesis of animal lungs, a simple tubular embryonic lung evolves to a complicated, multiply-branched shape.
Together with Dagmar Iber (ETH Zürich) we have developed a new mathematical model to describe this evolution The model is based on the interaction of proteins on the embryonic lung surface, leading to a growth complex that enhances local growth.
Marangoni flows at fluidic interfaces
We simulate mass transport of surfactants at fluidic interfaces. In this process, the so-called Marangoni effect induces a flow, changing again the mass transport. This interplay of transport an flow leads to interesting phenomena and can be used, for example, for new chemical computing circuits.
Liquid wetting of surfaces
We simulate the wetting of nano-structured surfaces aiming for the development of new water- and oil-repellent surfaces (artificial Lotus effect).
Human bones optimize their shape according to the mechanical load acting on them. That is, they grow/shrink in regions of high/low mechanical stress, which then again changes the stress distribution. We simulate the interplay between mechanical stress and local growth to improve understanding of this process and corresponding diseases, like osteoporosis.
The geometrically complicated micro structure of the bone is described implicitly by a phase field model.