Traction reveals mechanisms of wall effects for microswimmers near boundaries
Fu, Henry C.
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
The influence of a plane boundary on low-Reynolds-number swimmers has frequently been studied using image systems for flow singularities. However, the boundary effect can also be expressed using a boundary integral representation over the traction on the boundary. We show that examining the traction pattern on the boundary caused by a swimmer can yield physical insights into determining when far-field multipole models are accurate. We investigate the swimming velocities and the traction of a three-sphere swimmer initially placed parallel to an infinite planar wall. In the far field, the instantaneous effect of the wall on the swimmer is well approximated by that of a multipole expansion consisting of a force dipole and a force quadrupole. On the other hand, the swimmer close to the wall must be described by a system of singularities reflecting its internal structure. We show that these limits and the transition between them can be independently identified by examining the traction pattern on the wall, either using a quantitative correlation coefficient or by visual inspection. Last, we find that for nonconstant propulsion, correlations between swimming stroke motions and internal positions are important and not captured by time-averaged traction on the wall, indicating that care must be taken when applying multipole expansions to study boundary effects in cases of nonconstant propulsion.
Physical Review E
© 2017 American Physical Society (APS). This paper was published in Physical Review E and is made available as an electronic reprint (preprint) with permission of American Physical Society (APS). The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevE.95.033105]. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic or multiple reproduction, distribution to multiple locations via electronic or other means, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper is prohibited and is subject to penalties under law.