Multiscale simulation of fluid-structure interaction problems, simulation of colloidal systems and/or polymers.

The use of numerical simulations applied to industry and science has come a long way to supply fields such as medicine and drug design, materials science, chemical engineering, civil engineering or the aerospace industry. 

Simulations have allowed understanding many phenomena, improving efficiency in many processes and significantly reducing industrial production costs as they reduce experimental testing and error tests.

To study these phenomena accurately, it is necessary to have a group of experts in the management of the techniques, as well as the necessary computer systems that are normally outside the supply of most industries (petrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics processing, etc.). The UIB, through one of the research groups, offers the experience, techniques and tools needed to treat some of the most challenging systems from the point of view of current numerical simulation:

(1) Simulation of fluid-structure interaction problems, including large deformations, incomprehensible fluids and complex geometrics.

(2) The simulation of fluids and fluid tables in general and, in particular, the multiscale simulation of problems in which a fluid interacts with a non-trivial structure (e.g., surface covered by a filamentous layer, soft surface with roughness, fluids that contain soft, deformable particles such as red blood cells in the blood, etc.).

(3) Simulation of colloidal systems, known as systems in which there is a liquid/gas/solid (the matrix) containing solid/liquid/gaseous element. These units may be electrically charged or have magnetic properties. The research group has extensive experience in the methodology necessary for the simulation of these types of systems.

(4) Simulation of polymeric systems, ranging from the study of isolated proteins and DNA to the study of sets of polymers that form the matrix of a plastic material or a complex polymer structure, such as polymeric brushes or multilayers of polyelectrolytes.

Practical application

1. One of the main characteristics of microfluids is the ability to generate chemo-attracting gradients to cells. Chemoattractings are substances that have an inducing effect of chemotaxis (a phenomenon by which organisms direct their movements according to the concentration of certain chemicals in their environment). For this reason, microfluids are the ideal tool to study certain characteristics of cellular behaviour, such as motility, chemotaxis and/or the ability to develop antibiotic resistance.

Predictive models of the behaviour of these fluids can help researchers devise new and better gradient generators instead of using approximate analytical solutions.

2. Optofluidic is an integration of optics and microfluidic to obtain information from both approaches. This fusion is used in the creation of lenses from the use of fluids of different refractive indexes, allowing for dynamic reconfiguration of the lens. In addition, the flow of microfluids allows this technology to be easily integrated into microscopes for better resolutions.

With the creation of predictive models of this approach, hydrodynamics present in the formation of microfluidic lenses can be simulated.

3. Currently, numerous studies are conducted with magnetic particles related to the detoxification process. In this process, toxins are extracorporeal from the bloodstream of intoxicated patients. Many clinical conditions, caused by various microbial pathogens, spread through the bloodstream and weaken the body's defences. The mortality rate of these pathologies increases significantly every hour they are not given the correct treatment. For this reason, the rapid elimination of these toxins is of vital importance. Magnetic particles would bind to toxins to facilitate blood extraction.

In this case, predictive models would help to understand and analyse the transport of these toxin-bound particles, which would be relevant to this research.

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