An object consisting of three spheres, linked like the spokes on a wheel, can undergo a net rotational movement when the relative positions of the spheres proceed through a four-step cycle. This rotational motion is the analogue of the two-hinged swimmer originally proposed by Purcell (1977), which has served as a prototype for mechanical implementations of swimming. We also note that the rotational motion analysed here may be useful in the design of micromachines and has similarities to molecular-scale rotational motors that have been identified recently.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
- Condensed Matter Physics