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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The effects of non-Newtonian fluids on Purcell's Scallop Theorem

  • Author(s): Ashur, Dor Yisrael
  • et al.

Many common fluids such as blood, oils and shampoos exhibit non-Newtonian properties, and low Reynolds flow is ubiquitous in micro-scale swimmers such as flagellum and bacteria. Purcell's Scallop Theorem states that locomotion via a single time-independent degree of movement through low Reynolds flow is impossible as the effects of momentum are negligible. Experimentation was performed to prove that propulsion, via a singular rotational, or linear degree-of-freedom, is possible by employing the normal stresses and shear thinning capabilities of non-Newtonian fluids, respectively. This study also discusses non- Newtonian fluid rheometry, as well as the design and control of the swimming robots

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