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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2013 Jul;88(1):013015. Epub 2013 Jul 22.

Flagellar waveform dynamics of freely swimming algal cells.

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  • 1Department of Physics, Haverford College, Haverford, Pennsylvania 19041, USA.


We present quantitative measurements of time-dependent flagellar waveforms for freely swimming biflagellated algal cells, for both synchronous and asynchronous beating. We use the waveforms in conjunction with resistive force theory as well as a singularity method to predict a cell's time-dependent velocity for comparison with experiments. While net propulsion is thought to arise from asymmetry between the power and recovery strokes, we show that hydrodynamic interactions between the flagella and cell body on the return stroke make an important contribution to enhance net forward motion.

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