Flexive and Propulsive Dynamics of Elastica at Low Reynolds Number

Wiggins, Chris H.; Goldstein, Raymond E.

A stiff one-armed swimmer in glycerine goes nowhere. However, if its arm is elastic, the swimmer can go on its way. Quantifying this observation, we study a hyperdiffusion equation for the shape of the elastica in a viscous fluid, find solutions for impulsive or oscillatory forcing, and elucidate relevant aspects of propulsion. These results have application in a variety of physical and biological contexts, from dynamic experiments measuring biopolymer bending moduli to instabilities of twisted elastic filaments.


Also Published In

Physical Review Letters

More About This Work

Academic Units
Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics
American Physical Society
Published Here
September 19, 2014