A paradigm for internally driven matter is the active nematic liquid crystal, whereby the equations of a conventional nematic are supplemented by a minimal active stress that violates time-reversal symmetry. In practice, active fluids may have not only liquid-crystalline but also viscoelastic polymer degrees of freedom. Here we explore the resulting interplay by coupling an active nematic to a minimal model of polymer rheology. We find that adding a polymer can greatly increase the complexity of spontaneous flow, but can also have calming effects, thereby increasing the net throughput of spontaneous flow along a pipe (a "drag-reduction" effect). Remarkably, active turbulence can also arise after switching on activity in a sufficiently soft elastomeric solid.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)