Computer simulations show how bacteria could build and power microscopic wind farms

Computer simulations show how bacteria could build and power microscopic wind farms

Researchers at Oxford University asserted computer simulations have shown how bacteria could construct and power microscopic wind farms. They believe one day such wind farms could power microscopic engines for self-assembled and self-powered devices.

In the study, the team of researchers from Oxford replaced a single rotor with a lattice of 64 symmetric microrotors. It found that bacteria would spontaneously organize it to make neighboring rotors that began to spin in opposite directions. This appeared like working of full size wind farm. The farms can produce power with this degree of self-organization.

“At micro scales, our simulations show that the flow generated by biological assemblies is capable of reorganizing itself in such a way as to generate a persistent mechanical power for rotating an array of microrotors”, said Dr. Amin Doostmohammadi of Oxford University's Department of Physics.

Doostmohammadi added that harnessing power from these small biological structures will be useful because they do not require input power and use internal biochemical processes to move.

Dense bacterial suspension offers many examples of active fluids that flow spontaneously. Though swimming bacteria could swarm and move disorganized living flows, they are a lot disordered making it difficult to harness any usefully power from them.

Research offers hope for use of wind farms. They may one day power microscopic engines for small devices that are self-assembled and self-powered, from optical switches to smartphone microphones. The team used computer simulations to show working of microscopic wind farms.

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