Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol.118, No.2, 918-929, 2021
CFD-DEM modelling of biofilm streamer oscillations and their cohesive failure in fluid flow
Biofilm streamer motion under different flow conditions is important for a wide range of industries. The existing work has largely focused on experimental characterisations of these streamers, which is often time-consuming and expensive. To better understand the physics of biofilm streamer oscillation and their interactions in fluid flow, a computational fluid dynamics-discrete element method model has been developed. The model was used to study the flow-induced oscillations and cohesive failure of single and multiple biofilm streamers. We have studied the effect of streamer length on the oscillation at varied flow rates. The predicted single biofilm streamer oscillations in various flow rates agreed well with experimental measurements. We have also investigated the effect of the spatial arrangement of streamers on interactions between two oscillating streamers in parallel and tandem arrangements. Furthermore, cohesive failure of streamers was studied in an accelerating fluid flow, which is important for slowing down biofilm-induced clogging.