Reconciling transport models across scales: The role of volume exclusion

P. R. Taylor, Christian Yates, M. J. Simpson, Ruth E. Baker

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Diffusive transport is a universal phenomenon, throughout both biological and physical sciences, and models of diffusion are routinely used to interrogate diffusion-driven processes. However, most models neglect to take into account the role of volume exclusion, which can significantly alter diffusive transport, particularly within biological systems where the diffusing particles might occupy
a significant fraction of the available space. In this work we use a random walk approach to provide a means to reconcile models that incorporate crowding effects on different spatial scales. Our work demonstrates that coarse-grained models incorporating simplified descriptions of excluded volume can be used in many circumstances, but that care must be taken in pushing the coarse-graining
process too far.
Original languageEnglish
Article number 040701(R)
Number of pages5
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2 Oct 2015


  • Exclusion processes
  • fully-excluding
  • partially-excluding
  • cell migration
  • stochastic simulation


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