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Shear-thinning effects on microswimmers

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dr C. P. Caulfield.

An important environmental factor impacting cell motility is the rheology of the surrounding fluid. Mammalian sperm must progress through physiological mucus, a suspension of polymers that twist, writhe and align with flow. These polymers endow mucus with rheological properties that affect sperms’ ability to penetrate. Using the method of femlets, a new finite element technique entailing an immersed force representation, I will present novel physical mechanisms through which shear-thinning, an important property of physiological mucus affects microscopic swimmers. In particular, I will show that these effects are sensitive to the swimming stroke employed, and present example reciprocal swimmers that violate Purcell’s ``Scallop Theorem’‘

This talk is part of the Fluid Mechanics (DAMTP) series.

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