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  1. Semiflexible slender filaments are ubiquitous in nature and cell biology, including in the cytoskeleton, where reorganization of actin filaments allows the cell to move and divide. Most methods for simulating semiflexible inextensible fibers/polymers are based on discrete (bead-link or blob-link) models, which become prohibitively expensive in the slender limit when hydrodynamics is accounted for. In this paper, we develop a novel coarse-grained approach for simulating fluctuating slender filaments with hydrodynamic interactions. Our approach is tailored to relatively stiff fibers whose persistence length is comparable to or larger than their length and is based on three major contributions. First, we discretize the filament centerline using a coarse non-uniform Chebyshev grid, on which we formulate a discrete constrained Gibbs–Boltzmann (GB) equilibrium distribution and overdamped Langevin equation for the evolution of unit-length tangent vectors. Second, we define the hydrodynamic mobility at each point on the filament as an integral of the Rotne–Prager–Yamakawa kernel along the centerline and apply a spectrally accurate “slender-body” quadrature to accurately resolve the hydrodynamics. Third, we propose a novel midpoint temporal integrator, which can correctly capture the Ito drift terms that arise in the overdamped Langevin equation. For two separate examples, we verify that the equilibrium distribution for the Chebyshev grid is a good approximation of the blob-link one and that our temporal integrator for overdamped Langevin dynamics samples the equilibrium GB distribution for sufficiently small time step sizes. We also study the dynamics of relaxation of an initially straight filament and find that as few as 12 Chebyshev nodes provide a good approximation to the dynamics while allowing a time step size two orders of magnitude larger than a resolved blob-link simulation. We conclude by applying our approach to a suspension of cross-linked semiflexible fibers (neglecting hydrodynamic interactions between fibers), where we study how semiflexible fluctuations affect bundling dynamics. We find that semiflexible filaments bundle faster than rigid filaments even when the persistence length is large, but show that semiflexible bending fluctuations only further accelerate agglomeration when the persistence length and fiber length are of the same order. 
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  2. We develop a linearly scaling variant of the force coupling method [K. Yeo and M. R. Maxey, J. Fluid Mech. 649, 205–231 (2010)] for computing hydrodynamic interactions among particles confined to a doubly periodic geometry with either a single bottom wall or two walls (slit channel) in the aperiodic direction. Our spectrally accurate Stokes solver uses the fast Fourier transform in the periodic xy plane and Chebyshev polynomials in the aperiodic z direction normal to the wall(s). We decompose the problem into two problems. The first is a doubly periodic subproblem in the presence of particles (source terms) with free-space boundary conditions in the z direction, which we solve by borrowing ideas from a recent method for rapid evaluation of electrostatic interactions in doubly periodic geometries [Maxian et al., J. Chem. Phys. 154, 204107 (2021)]. The second is a correction subproblem to impose the boundary conditions on the wall(s). Instead of the traditional Gaussian kernel, we use the exponential of a semicircle kernel to model the source terms (body force) due to the presence of particles and provide optimum values for the kernel parameters that ensure a given hydrodynamic radius with at least two digits of accuracy and rotational and translational invariance. The computation time of our solver, which is implemented in graphical processing units, scales linearly with the number of particles, and allows computations with about a million particles in less than a second for a sedimented layer of colloidal microrollers. We find that in a slit channel, a driven dense suspension of microrollers maintains the same two-layer structure as above a single wall, but moves at a substantially lower collective speed due to increased confinement. 
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  3. Slender fibres are ubiquitous in biology, physics and engineering, with prominent examples including bacterial flagella and cytoskeletal fibres. In this setting, slender body theories (SBTs), which give the resistance on the fibre asymptotically in its slenderness $\epsilon$ , are useful tools for both analysis and computations. However, a difficulty arises when accounting for twist and cross-sectional rotation: because the angular velocity of a filament can vary depending on the order of magnitude of the applied torque, asymptotic theories must give accurate results for rotational dynamics over a range of angular velocities. In this paper, we first survey the challenges in applying existing SBTs, which are based on either singularity or full boundary integral representations, to rotating filaments, showing in particular that they fail to consistently treat rotation–translation coupling in curved filaments. We then provide an alternative approach which approximates the three-dimensional dynamics via a one-dimensional line integral of Rotne–Prager–Yamakawa regularized singularities. While unable to accurately resolve the flow field near the filament, this approach gives a grand mobility with symmetric rotation–translation and translation–rotation coupling, making it applicable to a broad range of angular velocities. To restore fidelity to the three-dimensional filament geometry, we use our regularized singularity model to inform a simple empirical equation which relates the mean force and torque along the filament centreline to the translational and rotational velocity of the cross-section. The single unknown coefficient in the model is estimated numerically from three-dimensional boundary integral calculations on a rotating, curved filament. 
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  4. Merks, Roeland M.H. (Ed.)
    Cross-linked actin networks are the primary component of the cell cytoskeleton and have been the subject of numerous experimental and modeling studies. While these studies have demonstrated that the networks are viscoelastic materials, evolving from elastic solids on short timescales to viscous fluids on long ones, questions remain about the duration of each asymptotic regime, the role of the surrounding fluid, and the behavior of the networks on intermediate timescales. Here we perform detailed simulations of passively cross-linked non-Brownian actin networks to quantify the principal timescales involved in the elastoviscous behavior, study the role of nonlocal hydrodynamic interactions, and parameterize continuum models from discrete stochastic simulations. To do this, we extend our recent computational framework for semiflexible filament suspensions, which is based on nonlocal slender body theory, to actin networks with dynamic cross linkers and finite filament lifetime. We introduce a model where the cross linkers are elastic springs with sticky ends stochastically binding to and unbinding from the elastic filaments, which randomly turn over at a characteristic rate. We show that, depending on the parameters, the network evolves to a steady state morphology that is either an isotropic actin mesh or a mesh with embedded actin bundles. For different degrees of bundling, we numerically apply small-amplitude oscillatory shear deformation to extract three timescales from networks of hundreds of filaments and cross linkers. We analyze the dependence of these timescales, which range from the order of hundredths of a second to the actin turnover time of several seconds, on the dynamic nature of the links, solvent viscosity, and filament bending stiffness. We show that the network is mostly elastic on the short time scale, with the elasticity coming mainly from the cross links, and viscous on the long time scale, with the effective viscosity originating primarily from stretching and breaking of the cross links. We show that the influence of nonlocal hydrodynamic interactions depends on the network morphology: for homogeneous meshworks, nonlocal hydrodynamics gives only a small correction to the viscous behavior, but for bundled networks it both hinders the formation of bundles and significantly lowers the resistance to shear once bundles are formed. We use our results to construct three-timescale generalized Maxwell models of the networks. 
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