Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Abstract: The filtering mechanisms in bivalve molluscs, such as the mussel Mytilus edulis, and in sessile organisms, such as Vorticella or Stentor, involve complex fluid mechanical phenomena. In the former example, three different sets of cilia serving different functions are involved in the process whereas in the sessile organisms the flexibility and contractile nature of the stalk may play an important role in increasing the filtering efficiency of the organisms. In both cases, beating microscopic cilia are the “engines” driving the fluid motion, so the fluid mechanics will be dominated entirely by viscous forces. A fluid mechanical model is developed for the filtering mechanism in mussels that enables estimates to be made of the pressure drop through the gill filaments due to (i) latero-frontal filtering cilia, (ii) the lateral (pumping) cilia, and (iii) through the non-ciliated zone of the ventral end of the filament. The velocity profile across the filaments indicates that a backflow can occur in the centre of the channel leading to the formation of two “standing” eddies which may drive particles towards the mucus-laden short cilia, the third set of cilia. Filter feeding in the sessile organisms is modelled by a point force above a rigid boundary. The point force periodically changes its point of application according to a given protocol (a blinking stokeslet). The resulting fluid field is illustrated via Poincaré sections and particle dispersion—showing the potential for a much improved filtering efficiency. Returning to filter feeding in bivalve molluscs, this concept is extended to a pair of blinking stokeslets above a rigid boundary to give insight into possible mechanisms for movement of food particles onto the short mucus-bearing cilia. The appendix contains a Latin and English version of an “Ode of Achievement” in celebration of Sir James Lighthill's contributions to mathematics and fluid mechanics.
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