Canonical orbits for rapidly deforming planar microswimmers in shear flow

Eamonn A. Gaffney, Mohit P. Dalwadi, Clément Moreau, Kenta Ishimoto, Benjamin J. Walker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Classically, the rotation of ellipsoids in shear Stokes flow is captured by Jeffery's orbits. Here we demonstrate that Jeffery's orbits also describe high-frequency shape-deforming swimmers moving in the plane of a shear flow, employing only basic properties of Stokes flow and a multiple-scales asymptotic analysis. In doing so, we support the use of these simple models for capturing shape-changing swimmer dynamics in studies of active matter and highlight the ubiquity of ellipsoid-like dynamics in complex systems. This result is robust to weakly confounding effects, such as distant boundaries, and also applies in the low-frequency limit.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberL022101
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computational Mechanics
  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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