Emergent rheotaxis of shape-changing swimmers in Poiseuille flow

B. J. Walker, K. Ishimoto, C. Moreau, E. A. Gaffney, M. P. Dalwadi

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9 Citations (SciVal)


A simple model for the motion of shape-changing swimmers in Poiseuille flow was recently proposed and numerically explored by Omori et al. (J. Fluid Mech., vol. 930, 2022, A30). These explorations hinted that a small number of interacting mechanics can drive long-Time behaviours in this model, cast in the context of the well-studied alga Chlamydomonas and its rheotactic behaviours in such flows. Here, we explore this model analytically via a multiple-scale asymptotic analysis, seeking to formally identify the causal factors that shape the behaviour of these swimmers in Poiseuille flow. By capturing the evolution of a Hamiltonian-like quantity, we reveal the origins of the long-Term drift in a single swimmer-dependent constant, whose sign determines the eventual behaviour of the swimmer. This constant captures the nonlinear interaction between the oscillatory speed and effective hydrodynamic shape of deforming swimmers, driving drift either towards or away from rheotaxis.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberR2
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 10 Aug 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
B.J.W. is supported by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851. K.I. acknowledges JSPS-KAKENHI for Young Researchers (grant no. 18K13456), JSPS-KAKENHI for Transformative Research Areas (grant no. 21H05309) and JST, PRESTO, Japan (grant no. JPMJPR1921). C.M. is supported by the Research Institute for Mathematical Sciences, an International Joint Usage/Research Center located at Kyoto University. M.P.D. is supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (grant no. EP/W032317/1).

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  • Key words micro-organism dynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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