The Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, Eprints Archive

Squirmer dynamics near a boundary

Ishimoto, K and Gaffney, E A (2013) Squirmer dynamics near a boundary. Physical Review E, 88 (6). 062702.



The boundary behavior of axisymmetric microswimming squirmers is theoretically explored within an inertialess Newtonian fluid for a no-slip interface and also a free surface in the small capillary number limit, preventing leading-order surface deformation. Such squirmers are commonly presented as abridged models of ciliates, colonial algae, and Janus particles and we investigate the case of low-mode axisymmetric tangential surface deformations with, in addition, the consideration of a rotlet dipole to represent torque-motor swimmers such as flagellated bacteria. The resulting boundary dynamics reduces to a phase plane in the angle of attack and distance from the boundary, with a simplifying time-reversal duality. Stable swimming adjacent to a no-slip boundary is demonstrated via the presence of stable fixed points and, more generally, all types of fixed points as well as stable and unstable limit cycles occur adjacent to a no-slip boundary with variations in the tangential deformations. Nonetheless, there are constraints on swimmer behavior—for instance, swimmers characterized as pushers are never observed to exhibit stable limit cycles. All such generalities for no-slip boundaries are consistent with observations and more geometrically faithful simulations to date, suggesting the tangential squirmer is a relatively simple framework to enable predications and classifications for the complexities associated with axisymmetric boundary swimming. However, in the presence of a free surface, with asymptotically small capillary number, and thus negligible leading-order surface deformation, no stable surface swimming is predicted across the parameter space considered. While this is in contrast to experimental observations, for example, the free-surface accumulation of sterlet sperm, extensive surfactants are present, most likely invalidating the low capillary number assumption. In turn, this suggests the necessity of surface deformation for stable free-surface three-dimensional finite-size microswimming, as previously highlighted in a two-dimensional mathematical study of singularity swimmers [Crowdy et al., J. Fluid Mech. 681, 24 (2011)].

Item Type:Article
Subjects:A - C > Biology and other natural sciences
Research Groups:Centre for Mathematical Biology
ID Code:1786
Deposited By: Sara Jolliffe
Deposited On:14 Feb 2014 09:00
Last Modified:29 May 2015 19:28

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