Fluid Elasticity Can Enable Propulsion at Low Reynolds Number

Condensed Matter journal club

Fluid Elasticity Can Enable Propulsion at Low Reynolds Number

Event details


Conventionally, a microscopic particle that performs a reciprocal stroke cannot move through its environment. This is because at small scales, the response of simple Newtonian fluids is purely viscous and flows are time-reversible. We show that by contrast, fluid elasticity enables propulsion by reciprocal forcing that is otherwise impossible. We present experiments on rigid objects actuated reciprocally in viscous fluids, demonstrating for the first time a purely elastic propulsion set by the object's shape and boundary conditions. We describe two different artificial 'swimmers' that experimentally realize this principle.
pdf version of paper


Nathan C. Keim, Mike Garcia, Paulo E. Arratia

About Condensed Matter journal club

Given the diversity of research in the CM group, chosen topics vary widely. We tend to stick to high-impact journals - Nature, Science, PNAS and PRL have been popular - but this is not prescriptive..

Find out more about Condensed Matter journal club.