3-D spatio-temporal structures of biofilms in a water channel

Chen Chen, Shuyu Hou, Dacheng Ren, Mingming Ren, Qi Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We develop a numerical predictive tool for multiphase fluid mixtures consisting of biofilms grown in a viscous fluid matrix by implementing a second-order finite difference discretization of the multiphase biofilm model developed recently on a general purpose graphic processing unit. With this numerical tool, we study a 3-D biomass-flow interaction resulting in biomass growth, structure formation, deformation, and detachment phenomena in biofilms grown in a water channel in quiescent state and subject to a shear flow condition, respectively. The numerical investigation is limited in the viscous regime of the biofilm-solvent mixture. In quiescent flows, the model predicts growth patterns consistent with experimental findings for single or multiple adjacent biofilm colonies, the so-called mushroom shape growth pattern. The simulated biomass growth both in density and thickness matches very well with the experimentally grown biofilm in a water channel. When shear is imposed at a boundary, our numerical studies reproduce wavy patterns, pinching, and streaming phenomena observed in biofilms grown in a water channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4461-4478
Number of pages18
JournalMathematical Methods in the Applied Sciences
Issue number18
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015


  • 3-D simulations
  • biofilms
  • finite difference method
  • hydrodynamics
  • modeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Mathematics
  • General Engineering


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