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Project Area B - Soft Matter: Collective dynamics and hydrodynamic interactions in complex fluids.
In project area B we explore non-equilibrium collective phenomena in various soft-matter systems involving a liquid environment. In particular, three of the projects (B.1, B.2, and B.3) are concerned with colloidal suspensions consisting of micron-sized spherical or rod-like particles in a solvent. The colloidal particles interact directly (e.g., via excluded-volume and dipolar forces) and via solvent-mediated hydrodynamic forces. While these colloidal systems are similar to those studied in the first funding period, we now explore, motivated by recent innovative experiments, the impact of new system properties such as anisotropic magnetic particle response, packing effects, and shape or size heterogeneity. The system studied in the new project B.5 shares with B.1–B.3 the “soft” character and the presence of a liquid solvent; however, B.5 involves another type of interacting entity. Specifically, it is concerned with (bio-)polymers in solution which form a network via protein cross linkers. Internal conformations of the polymer molecules and the bound state of the linkers play a decisive role.
In specific, the projects of area B are as follows:
- B.1: Dynamical behavior and self-assembly of suspensions of exotic magnetic particles 
- B.2: Dense colloidal suspensions in microfluidic flow 
- B.3: Shear-driven instabilities of colloidal disks and disk-rod mixtures 
- B.5: Convolution theory for dynamic mechanical systems: bottom-up approach to viscoelastic polymeric networks