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Phys Rev Lett. 2011 May 20;106(20):208101. Epub 2011 May 16.

Undulatory swimming in viscoelastic fluids.

Author information

1
Department of Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104, USA.

Abstract

The effects of fluid elasticity on the swimming behavior of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans are experimentally investigated by tracking the nematode's motion and measuring the corresponding velocity fields. We find that fluid elasticity hinders self-propulsion. Compared to Newtonian solutions, fluid elasticity leads to up to 35% slower propulsion. Furthermore, self-propulsion decreases as elastic stresses grow in magnitude in the fluid. This decrease in self-propulsion in viscoelastic fluids is related to the stretching of flexible molecules near hyperbolic points in the flow.

PMID:
21668264
DOI:
10.1103/PhysRevLett.106.208101
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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