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Locomotion of helical bodies in viscoelastic fluids

Tuesday 25th June 2013 - 09:45 to 10:30
INI Seminar Room 1
Many microorganisms swim by rotating one or many helical flagella, often propelling themselves through fluids that exhibit both viscous and elastic qualities in response to deformations. In an effort to better understand the complex interaction between the fluid and body in such systems, we have studied numerically the force-free swimming of a rotating helix in a viscoelastic (Oldroyd-B) fluid. The introduction of viscoelasticity can either enhance or retard the swimming speed depending on the body geometry and the properties of the fluid (through a dimensionless Deborah number). The numerical results show how small-amplitude theoretical calculations connect smoothly to large-amplitude experimental measurements.

Co-authors: Bin Liu (Brown University), Thomas R. Powers (Brown University)

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University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons