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Theoretical framework for two-microswimmer hydrodynamic interactions

Ziegler, Sebastian; Scheel, Thomas; Hubert, Maxime; Harting, Jens; Smith, Ana-Sunčana (2021) Theoretical framework for two-microswimmer hydrodynamic interactions. New Journal of Physics, 23 (7). ISSN 1367-2630

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Hydrodynamic interactions are crucial for determining the cooperative behavior of microswimmers at low Reynolds numbers. Here we provide a comprehensive analysis of the scaling laws and the strength of the interactions in the case of a pair of three-sphere swimmers. Both stroke-based and force-based elastic microswimmers are analyzed using an analytic perturbative approach, focusing on passive and active interactions. The former are governed by the cycle-averaged flow field of a single swimmer, which is dipolar at long range. However, at intermediate distances, with a cross-over at the order of 102 swimmer lengths, the quadrupolar field dominates which, notably, yields an increase of the swimming velocity compared to individual swimmers, even when the swimmers are one behind another. Furthermore, we find that active rotations resulting from the interplay of the time-resolved swimming stroke and the ambient flow fields and, even more prominently, active translations are model-dependent. A mapping between the stroke-based and force-based swimmers is only possible for the low driving frequency regime where the characteristic time scale is smaller than the viscous one. Finally, we find that the long-term behavior of the swimmers, while sensitive to the initial relative positioning, does not depend on the pusher or puller nature of the swimmer. These results clearly indicate that the behavior of swarms will depend on the swimmer model, which was hitherto not well appreciated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: microswimmers ; collective behavior ; low Reynolds number dynamics ; active matter
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Physics
Divisions: Division of Physical Chemistry
Depositing User: Ana Sunčana Smith
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2021 10:08
DOI: 10.1088/1367-2630/ac1141

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