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Flexive and Propulsive Dynamics of Elastica at Low Reynolds Numbers




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      A stiff one-armed swimmer in glycerine goes nowhere, but if its arm is elastic, exerting a restorative torque proportional to local curvature, the swimmer can go on its way. Considering this happy consequence and the principles of elasticity, we study a hyperdiffusion equation for the shape of the elastica in viscous flow, find solutions for impulsive or oscillatory forcing, and elucidate relevant aspects of propulsion. These results have application in a variety of physical and biological contexts, from dynamic biopolymer bending experiments to instabilities of elastic filaments.

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      Nonlinear Dynamics of Stiff Polymers

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        Measurement of the persistence length of polymerized actin using fluorescence microscopy.


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          31 July 1997
          Custom metadata
          4 pages, 4 eps figs, RevTeX, submitted to PRL
          cond-mat.soft q-bio


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