Rotating helical bodies of arbitrary cross-sectional profile and infinite length are explored as they swim through or transport a viscous fluid. The Stokes equations are studied in a helical coordinate system, and closed form analytical expressions for the force-free swimming speed and torque are derived in the asymptotic regime of nearly cylindrical bodies. High-order accurate expressions for the velocity field and swimming speed are derived for helical bodies of finite pitch angle through a double series expansion. The analytical predictions match well with the results of full numerical simulations, and accurately predict the optimal pitch angle for a given cross-sectional profile. This work may improve the modeling and design of helical structures used in microfluidic manipulation, synthetic microswimmer engineering, and the transport and mixing of viscous fluids.
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Research Article| April 21 2014
Swimming and pumping of rigid helical bodies in viscous fluids
Lei Li, Saverio E. Spagnolie; Swimming and pumping of rigid helical bodies in viscous fluids. Physics of Fluids 1 April 2014; 26 (4): 041901. https://doi.org/10.1063/1.4871084
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