Swimming microorganisms in flow


Members: Tran Ngoc Phu, Marcos

Many of microorganisms utilize their flagella, which are hair-like appendages, in order to swim in fluid environment. The research of locomotion of flagellated microorganisms therefore involves the study of flagella’s behaviors as a very essential part. Since flagellated microorganisms swim by propelling their flagella through liquid environment, the propulsion of flagella plays a key role in hydrodynamics of the swimmers. We developed a model to investigate the effects of shear flow on the shape of 2D propulsion flagellum, as well as hydrodynamic parameter of a single-flagellated microorganism such as sperm. The analytical results showed that under certain conditions, the shear flow could help the swimmer to swim faster. In our experiment, shear flow will be generated by introducing fluid flow into a microchannel with high aspect ratio cross section. The microchannel is fabricated using soft lithography techniques.

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