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Nanofluid bioconvection in water-based suspensions containing nanoparticles and oxytactic microorganisms: oscillatory instability

Andrey V Kuznetsov

Author Affiliations

Dept. of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 7910, Raleigh, NC 27695-7910, USA

Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:100  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-100

Published: 25 January 2011


The aim of this article is to propose a novel type of a nanofluid that contains both nanoparticles and motile (oxytactic) microorganisms. The benefits of adding motile microorganisms to the suspension include enhanced mass transfer, microscale mixing, and anticipated improved stability of the nanofluid. In order to understand the behavior of such a suspension at the fundamental level, this article investigates its stability when it occupies a shallow horizontal layer. The oscillatory mode of nanofluid bioconvection may be induced by the interaction of three competing agencies: oxytactic microorganisms, heating or cooling from the bottom, and top or bottom-heavy nanoparticle distribution. The model includes equations expressing conservation of total mass, momentum, thermal energy, nanoparticles, microorganisms, and oxygen. Physical mechanisms responsible for the slip velocity between the nanoparticles and the base fluid, such as Brownian motion and thermophoresis, are accounted for in the model. An approximate analytical solution of the eigenvalue problem is obtained using the Galerkin method. The obtained solution provides important physical insights into the behavior of this system; it also explains when the oscillatory mode of instability is possible in such system.