We present quantitative measurements and mat hematical analysis of the granular drag reduction by rotation, as motivated by the digging of Erodium and Pelargonium seeds. The seeds create a motion to dig into soil before germination using their moisture-responsive awns, which are originally helical shaped but reversibly deform to a linear configuration in a humid environment. We show that the rotation greatly lowers the resistance of soil against penetration because grain rearrangements near the intruder change the force chain network. We find a general correlation for the drag reduction by relative slip, leading to a mathematical model for the granular drag of a rotating intruder. In addition to shedding light on the mechanics of a rotating body in granular media, this work can guide us to design robots working in granular media with enhanced maneuverability.

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