Kayaking and wagging of rods in shear flow

Phys Rev Lett. 2005 Dec 2;95(23):237802. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.95.237802. Epub 2005 Dec 2.


For the first time, we have simulated the periodic collective orientational motions performed by rigid liquid-crystalline polymers with large aspect ratio in the nematic state in shear flow. In order to be able to do so, we developed a new, event-driven Brownian dynamics technique. We present the results of simulations of rods with aspect ratios L/d ranging from 20 to 60 at volume fractions phi given by Lphi/d = 3.5 and 4.5. By studying the path of the director, i.e., the average direction of the rods, we observe kayaking, wagging, flow aligning, and log-rolling type of orbits, depending on the parameters of the simulation and the initial orientation. We find that the tumbling periods depend on Lphi/d and the shear rate but not on the type of motion. Our simulation results qualitatively confirm theoretical predictions and are in good agreement with the experimental measurements of tumbling times of fd viruses.