Fluids, Form, and Function: The Role of Fluid Dynamics in the Evolution of Stalactites, Icicles, and Aquatic Microorganisms

Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/194746
Title:
Fluids, Form, and Function: The Role of Fluid Dynamics in the Evolution of Stalactites, Icicles, and Aquatic Microorganisms
Author:
Short, Martin Bowen
Issue Date:
2006
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
This dissertation is devoted to better understanding the role that fluids play in the selection of the shapes and functions of objects and creatures in nature. Toward that end, three specific examples are considered: stalactites, icicles, and species of colonial green algae known as Volvox. In the cases of stalactites and icicles, the object's growth is considered as a free-boundary problem. For stalactites, the coupling of thin-film fluid dynamics with calcium carbonate chemistry leads to a local, geometric growth law that is proportional to the thickness of the water layer covering the surface at any point. Application of this law to a uniformly translating shape allows a universal stalactite form to be derived; the comparison of this shape to images of actual stalactites supports the theory. In the case of icicles, the transport of the latent heat of fusion is coupled with the dynamics of both the thin-film of water encompassing the icicle and a thermally buoyant boundary layer in the immediately surrounding air. The uniformly translating shape solution is found to be parameter-free, and is, in fact, the same shape exhibited by stalactites. A comparison between this shape and icicle images validates the theory. The final example considers how advection of nutrients due to the stirring of water by the flagella of a Volvox colony leads to a metabolite uptake rate that is much greater than would occur by diffusion alone. Moreover, nutrient acquisition by pure diffusion would limit the size of Volvox species to a certain bottleneck radius at the point where diffusional uptake just meets metabolic demands, whereas advection increases the uptake in such a way as to avoid this problem entirely, thus enabling the evolution of the larger Volvox species.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
fluid mechanics; pattern formation; volvox; nonlinear
Degree Name:
PhD
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Physics; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Committee Chair:
Goldstein, Raymond E.

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoENen_US
dc.titleFluids, Form, and Function: The Role of Fluid Dynamics in the Evolution of Stalactites, Icicles, and Aquatic Microorganismsen_US
dc.creatorShort, Martin Bowenen_US
dc.contributor.authorShort, Martin Bowenen_US
dc.date.issued2006en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation is devoted to better understanding the role that fluids play in the selection of the shapes and functions of objects and creatures in nature. Toward that end, three specific examples are considered: stalactites, icicles, and species of colonial green algae known as Volvox. In the cases of stalactites and icicles, the object's growth is considered as a free-boundary problem. For stalactites, the coupling of thin-film fluid dynamics with calcium carbonate chemistry leads to a local, geometric growth law that is proportional to the thickness of the water layer covering the surface at any point. Application of this law to a uniformly translating shape allows a universal stalactite form to be derived; the comparison of this shape to images of actual stalactites supports the theory. In the case of icicles, the transport of the latent heat of fusion is coupled with the dynamics of both the thin-film of water encompassing the icicle and a thermally buoyant boundary layer in the immediately surrounding air. The uniformly translating shape solution is found to be parameter-free, and is, in fact, the same shape exhibited by stalactites. A comparison between this shape and icicle images validates the theory. The final example considers how advection of nutrients due to the stirring of water by the flagella of a Volvox colony leads to a metabolite uptake rate that is much greater than would occur by diffusion alone. Moreover, nutrient acquisition by pure diffusion would limit the size of Volvox species to a certain bottleneck radius at the point where diffusional uptake just meets metabolic demands, whereas advection increases the uptake in such a way as to avoid this problem entirely, thus enabling the evolution of the larger Volvox species.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectfluid mechanicsen_US
dc.subjectpattern formationen_US
dc.subjectvolvoxen_US
dc.subjectnonlinearen_US
thesis.degree.namePhDen_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhysicsen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.chairGoldstein, Raymond E.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBaygents, James C.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberBeck, J. Warrenen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHsieh, Ke Chiangen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberManne, Srinivasen_US
dc.identifier.proquest1824en_US
dc.identifier.oclc659746373en_US
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