Effects of geometric parameters on swimming of micro organisms with single helical flagellum in circular channels
Acemoğlu, Alperen and Yeşilyurt, Serhat (2014) Effects of geometric parameters on swimming of micro organisms with single helical flagellum in circular channels. Biophysical Journal, 106 (7). pp. 1537-1547. ISSN 0006-3495 (Print) 1542-0086 (Online)
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bpj.2014.01.047
We present a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model for the swimming of micro organisms with a single helical flagellum in circular channels. The CFD model is developed to obtain numerical solutions of Stokes equations in three dimensions, validated with experiments reported in literature, and used to analyze the effects of geometric parameters, such as the helical radius, wavelength, radii of the channel and the tail and the tail length on forward and lateral swimming velocities, rotation rates, and the efficiency of the swimmer. Optimal shapes for the speed and the power efficiency are reported. Effects of Brownian motion and electrostatic interactions are excluded to emphasize the role of hydrodynamic forces on lateral velocities and rotations on the trajectory of swimmers. For thin flagella, as the channel radius decreases, forward velocity and the power efficiency of the swimmer decreases as well; however, for thick flagella, there is an optimal radius of the channel that maximizes the velocity and the efficiency depending on other geometric parameters. Lateral motion of the swimmer is suppressed as the channel is constricted below a critical radius, for which the magnitude of the lateral velocity reaches a maximum. Results contribute significantly to the understanding of the swimming of bacteria in micro channels and capillary tubes.
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