Biofilm-flow interactions in aquatic environments

Thursday, 17 December 2015: 09:30
3024 (Moscone West)
Kenneth T Christensen1, Farzan Kazemifar1,2, Gianluca Blois1, Marcelo Aybar1, Patricia Perez Calleja1, Robert Nerenberg1, Sumit Sinha3, Richard J Hardy3, Jim Best4 and Gregory Sambrook Smith2, (1)University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, United States, (2)University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, (3)University of Durham, Durham, United Kingdom, (4)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Geography, Mechanical Science and Engineering and Ven Te Chow Hydrosystems Laboratory, Urbana, IL, United States
Biofilms are pervasive in aquatic environments, growing in pipes and channels in water supply systems, on permeable riverbeds, etc. The permeable, heterogeneous, and deformable structure of the biofilms make their interaction with surrounding fluid flow important from a range of perspectives, such as mass and momentum transport, and biofilm deformation and detachment due to shear stresses. Our understanding of these processes is limited, in part due to technical obstacles for performing such measurements. We have attempted to address these challenges using particle image velocimetry (PIV) and fluorescence imaging techniques in a water channel flow facility to obtain time-resolved velocity vector fields of flow around cylinders covered with biofilms at different growth stages. Analysis is focused on the coupled dynamics of turbulence and the biofilm development under different flow and nutrient conditions.