Volume 133, Number 4, February 2021
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Electromagnetism, Optics, Acoustics, Heat Transfer, Classical Mechanics, and Fluid Dynamics|
|Published online||09 April 2021|
Zigzag instability of biased pusher swimmers
1 Department of Applied Mathematics and Theoretical Physics, University of Cambridge - Cambridge CB3 0WA, UK
2 Department of Finemechanics, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University - 6-6-01, Aoba, Aoba- ku, Sendai 980-8579, Japan
3 Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University - 52056 Aachen, Germany
Received: 10 November 2020
Accepted: 22 January 2021
Microorganisms self-propelling in a fluid create flow fields that impact the dynamics of other swimmers. Some organisms can be biased and have a preferred swimming direction, e.g., those displaying gyrotaxis, chemotaxis or phototaxis, and as a result often focus along thin lines. Here we use numerical computations and far-field theoretical calculations to show that the position of a collection of biased swimmers moving along a line is unstable to a zigzag mode when the swimmers act on the fluid as pusher dipoles. This instability takes the form of periodic transverse oscillations in the position of the swimmers. We predict theoretically that the most unstable wavelength is equal to twice the inter-swimmer distance and that the growth rate of the instability increases linearly with the magnitude of the stresslet, both of which are in quantitative agreement with our numerical simulations.
PACS: 47.63.-b – Biological fluid dynamics / 47.63.Gd – Swimming microorganisms
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