Fluid-structure interactions enable passive flow control in real and biomimetic plants

Keunhwan Park, Aude Tixier, Magnus Paludan, Emil Østergaard, Maciej Zwieniecki, Kaare H. Jensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Controlling fluid flow is a fundamental problem with applications from biomedicine to environmental engineering. Contemporary solutions combine electromechanical sensors, valves, and pumps; however, these are expensive and difficult to maintain. We report an autonomous flow control principle inspired by vascular transport in plants. Combining experiments on real and biomimetic tissues, we show that networks of cells linked by nonlinear valves permit the physical programming of a nearly arbitrary pressure drop versus flow rate relation. The nonlinearity is a consequence of fluid-structure interactions that allow a flexible element to selectively block the valve aperture. We report four applications: parallel connections that function as (i) a nonlinear flow controller, (ii) a constant flow controller, (iii) a reverse Ohm flow controller, and a serial connection that acts as (iv) a fluidic on-off switch.

Original languageEnglish
Article number123102
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number12
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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