Active polar fluid flow in finite droplets

Carl A. Whitfield, Davide Marenduzzo, Raphaël Voituriez, Rhoda J. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We present a continuum level analytical model of a droplet of active contractile fluid consisting of filaments and motors. We calculate the steady state flows that result from a splayed polarisation of the filaments. We account for interaction with the external medium by imposing a viscous friction at the fixed droplet boundary. We then show that the droplet has non-zero force dipole and quadrupole moments, the latter of which is essential for self-propelled motion of the droplet at low Reynolds' number. Therefore, this calculation describes a simple mechanism for the motility of a droplet of active contractile fluid embedded in a three-dimensional environment, which is relevant to cell migration in confinement (for example, embedded within a gel or tissue). Our analytical results predict how the system depends on various parameters such as the effective friction coefficient, the phenomenological activity parameter and the splay of the imposed polarisation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalEuropean physical journal e
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2014

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