Hydrodynamic interactions at low Reynolds number: an overlooked mechanism favouring diatom encounters

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Suspensions of small fibres are known to produce clusters of particles during sedimentation, independently of fluid shear and Brownian motion. This phenomenon, which is due to hydrodynamic interactions at low Reynolds number, has been predicted theoretically and observed in experiments and numerical simulations. We hypothesize that this mechanism may be at least partially responsible for the encounter and aggregation of marine diatoms.

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