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Why antiplectic metachronal cilia waves are optimal to transport bronchial mucus

Abstract : The coordinated beating of epithelial cilia in human lungs is a fascinating problem from the hydrodynamics perspective. The phase lag between neighboring cilia is able to generate collective cilia motions, known as metachronal waves. Different kinds of waves can occur, antiplectic or symplectic, depending on the direction of the wave with respect to the flow direction. It is shown here, using a coupled lattice Boltzmann-immersed boundary solver, that the key mechanism responsible for their transport efficiency is a blowing-suction effect that displaces the interface between the periciliary liquid and the mucus phase. The contribution of this mechanism on the average flow generated by the cilia is compared to the contribution of the lubrication effect. The results reveal that the interface displacement is the main mechanism responsible for the better efficiency of antiplectic metachronal waves over symplectic ones to transport bronchial mucus. The conclusions drawn here can be extended to any two-layer fluid configuration having different viscosities, and put into motion by cilia-shaped or comb-plate structures, having a back-and-forth motion with phase lags.
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Sylvain Chateau, Julien Favier, Sébastien Poncet, Umberto d'Ortona. Why antiplectic metachronal cilia waves are optimal to transport bronchial mucus. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2019, 100 (4), pp.042405. ⟨10.1103/PhysRevE.100.042405⟩. ⟨hal-02468006⟩



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