On a Multiphase Multicomponent Model of Biofilm Growth

Avner Friedman, Bei Hu, Chuan Xue

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Biofilms are formed when free-floating bacteria attach to a surface and secrete polysaccharide to form an extracellular polymeric matrix (EPS). A general model of biofilm growth needs to include the bacteria, the EPS, and the solvent within the biofilm region Ω(t), and the solvent in the surrounding region D(t). The interface between the two regions, Γ(t), is a free boundary. In this paper, we consider a mathematical model that consists of a Stokes equation for the EPS with bacteria attached to it, a Stokes equation for the solvent in Ω(t) and another for the solvent in D(t). The volume fraction of the EPS is another unknown satisfying a reaction-diffusion equation. The entire system is coupled nonlinearly within Ω(t) and across the free surface Γ(t). We prove the existence and uniqueness of a solution, with a smooth surface Γ(t), for a small time interval.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)257-300
Number of pages44
JournalArchive For Rational Mechanics And Analysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


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