A circle swimmer at low Reynolds number

Rodrigo Ledesma Aguilar, Hartmut Löwen, Julia Yeomans

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Swimming in circles occurs in a variety of situations at low Reynolds number. Here we propose a simple model for a swimmer that undergoes circular motion, generalising the model of a linear swimmer proposed by Najafi and Golestanian (Phys. Rev. E 69, 062901 (2004)). Our model consists of three solid spheres arranged in a triangular configuration, joined by two links of time-dependent length. For small strokes, we discuss the motion of the swimmer as a function of the separation angle between its links. We find that swimmers describe either clockwise or anticlockwise circular motion depending on the tilting angle in a non-trivial manner. The symmetry of the swimmer leads to a quadrupolar decay of the far flow field. We discuss the potential extensions and experimental realisation of our model.
Original languageEnglish
Article number70
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean physical journal e
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2012


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