The immersed boundary method (IBM) simulates the interaction between a flexible elastic structure and a surrounding incompressible fluid in which it is immersed. This method is particularly useful in modelling biological phenomena, ranging from human organ sys- tems to the swaying seagrass on the sea bottom. One fascinating application of immersed boundaries is the study of fluid mechanics within the cochlea or inner ear, which transforms external sound waves into electrical impulses that are transmitted to the brain. An integral component of the cochlea is a flexible structure called the basilar membrane (BM) which is excited by oscillatory fluid motions induced within the cochlear duct. We implement a 2D immersed boundary model for the cochlea and study the BM oscillations that arise due to periodic forcing over a variety of frequencies that cover a subset of the range of human hearing. The results are compared with other model simulations.
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Thesis advisor: Stockie, John
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