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Gregory Herschlag : Optimal reservoir conditions for material extraction across pumping and porous channels

In this talk, I will discuss a new result in fluid flows through channels with permeable membranes with simple pumping dynamics. Fluid will be exchanged and metabolized in a simple reservoir and I will demonstrate the existence of optimal reservoir properties that may either maximize or minimized the amount of fluid being extracted across the channel walls. The biological relevance of this work may be seen by noting that all living organisms of a sufficient size rely on complex systems of tubular networks to efficiently collect, transport and distribute nutrients or waste. These networks exchange material with the interstitium via embedded channels leading to effective permeabilities across the wall separating the channel interior from the interstitium. In many invertebrates, for example, respiratory systems are made of complex tracheal systems that branch out through the entire body allowing for passive exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. In many of these systems, certain animals utilize various pumping mechanisms that alter the flow of the air or fluid being transported. Although the net effect of pumping of the averaged rates of fluid flow through the channel is typically well understood, it is still a largely open problem to understand how, and in what circumstances, pumping enables and enhances the exchange of material across channel walls. It has been demonstrated experimentally, for example, that when certain insects flap their wings, compression of the trachea allow for more efficient oxygen extraction, however it is unclear if this pumping is optimized for flight, oxygen uptake or neither, and understanding this problem quantitatively will shed insight on this biological process. Many of these interesting scenarios occur at low Reynolds number and this regime will be the focus of the presentation.

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