Rheology of crosslinked assemblies of flexible fibres in viscous flow

Nature and industry abound with examples of highly porous, fibrous materials embedded in a viscous fluid. Examples include the cellular cytoskeleton, scaffolds for tissue engineering, and medical filters, to name just a few. Recent simulations have demonstrated that the coupling between the solid (fibre) phase and the fluid can produce unexpected behaviour that could be exploited for industrial applications, and may have already been exploited by nature; however, the framework employed was mathematically non-rigorous. In this project, the student will develop a more rigorous theoretical framework (analytical, numerical, or both), for assemblies of cross-linked assemblies of flexible fibres in viscous flow. This is an opportunity to work on the interface between two previously separate fields, with the potential for rapid progress and high-impact fundamental research.