The immersed boundary (or IB) method is a proven approach for simulating fluid-structure interaction problems that involve a highly-deformable elastic structure immersed in an incompressible fluid. The method has primarily been used in applications from biofluid dynamics, although increasingly it is finding use in other problems from suspension flows, aerodynamics, etc.
In this talk, I will illustrate the versatility and accuracy of the IB method via two idealized problems that are inspired by the study of biofilm dynamics: namely, sedimentation in particle suspensions, and deformation of flexible cantilevers in response to a shearing flow. Both problems have been very well-studied in the engineering literature and so there are many numerical and experimental results available in the literature. Our primary goals here are to carefully validate the IB approach for these two applications involving passive structures in a simple 2D geometry, and to identify the advantages and disadvantages of the method compared with other approaches. This work then sets the stage for future computational studies of more complex problems with dynamically evolving self-propelled biofilm structures in 3D.