Reduction of viscosity in suspension of swimming bacteria

Andrey Sokolov, Igor S. Aranson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

268 Scopus citations


Measurements of the shear viscosity in suspensions of swimming Bacillus subtilis in free-standing liquid films have revealed that the viscosity can decrease by up to a factor of 7 compared to the viscosity of the same liquid without bacteria or with nonmotile bacteria. The reduction in viscosity is observed in two complementary experiments: one studying the decay of a large vortex induced by a moving probe and another measuring the viscous torque on a rotating magnetic particle immersed in the film. The viscosity depends on the concentration and swimming speed of the bacteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148101
JournalPhysical Review Letters
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 29 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Physics and Astronomy


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