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DOI: 10.1615/ICHMT.2008.CHT.1810
9 pages

Q. T. Mach
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique, Montréal, Canada

The Hung Nguyen
Department of Mechanical Engineering, Ecole Polytechnique, Montréal, Canada

Georges Le Palec


A numerical study is made of axisymmetric bioconvection in a vertical cylindrical cavity, under the effects of gravitactic motility and thermal stratification. The micro-organisms are assumed to swim randomly, but on the average upwardly with a constant velocity. The convective fluid flow and the micro-organisms patterns are described by the Navier-Stokes equation coupled with the heat and mass transport equations. The problem is governed by two Rayleigh numbers, a Schmidt number, a Peclet number and a Lewis number. It is found that gravitactic bioconvection in a stratified fluid may arise as a sub-critical instability. In the present case, the subcritical convection exists for all Lewis numbers (ratio of thermal diffusivity to microorganism diffusivity). This is in constrast to the case of double-diffusive thermosolutal convection where the subcritical regime may arise only if the destabilizing component diffuses faster than the stabilizing one.

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