Rotation of an immersed cylinder sliding near a thin elastic coating

Bhargav Rallabandi, Baudouin Saintyves, Theo Jules, Thomas Salez, Clarissa Schönecker, L. Mahadevan, Howard A. Stone

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36 Scopus citations


It is known that an object translating parallel to a soft wall in a viscous fluid produces hydrodynamic stresses that deform the wall, which in turn results in a lift force on the object. Recent experiments with cylinders sliding under gravity near a soft incline, which confirmed theoretical arguments for the lift force, also reported an unexplained steady-state rotation of the cylinders [B. Saintyves, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 113, 5847 (2016)PNASA60027-842410.1073/pnas.1525462113]. Motivated by these observations, we show, in the lubrication limit, that an infinite cylinder that translates in a viscous fluid parallel to a soft wall at constant speed and separation distance must also rotate in order to remain free of torque. Using the Lorentz reciprocal theorem, we show analytically that for small deformations of the elastic layer, the angular velocity of the cylinder scales with the cube of the sliding speed. These predictions are confirmed numerically. We then apply the theory to the gravity-driven motion of a cylinder near a soft incline and find qualitative agreement with the experimental observations, namely, that a softer elastic layer results in a greater angular speed of the cylinder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number074102
JournalPhysical Review Fluids
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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