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Chaotic tumbling and steady drifting of bananas in shear flow

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The motion of an axisymmetric ellipsoid immersed in a shear flow at zero Reynolds number is simple: the ellipsoid rotates periodically and is advected downstream by the fluid. However, bending the ellipsoid into a banana shape radically changes both its rotational and translational dynamics. The rotation becomes quasiperiodic or chaotic and particles can drift steadily across the streamlines in the gradient and/or the vorticity directions of the shear flow. I shall explain the origins of drift and the changes in rotational dynamics in terms of the symmetry group of the particle (shared by T-shapes and square pyramids) and the reversibility of Stokes flow, which establish a connection to KAM theory.

This talk is part of the DAMTP BioLunch series.

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