Theoretical Justification and Error Analysis for Slender Body Theory with Free Ends

Yoichiro Mori, Laurel Ohm, Daniel Spirn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Slender body theory is a commonly used approximation in computational models of thin fibers in viscous fluids, especially in simulating the motion of cilia or flagella in swimming microorganisms. In Mori et al. (Commun Pure Appl Math, 2018. arXiv:1807.00178), we developed a PDE framework for analyzing the error introduced by the slender body approximation for closed-loop fibers with constant radius ε, and showed that the difference between our closed-loop PDE solution and the slender body approximation is bounded by an expression proportional to ε| log ε|. Here we extend the slender body PDE framework to the free endpoint setting, which is more physically relevant from a modeling standpoint but more technically demanding than the closed loop analysis. The main new difficulties arising in the free endpoint setting are defining the endpoint geometry, identifying the extent of the 1D slender body force density, and determining how the well-posedness constants depend on the non-constant fiber radius. Given a slender fiber satisfying certain geometric constraints at the filament endpoints and a one-dimensional force density satisfying an endpoint decay condition, we show a bound for the difference between the solution to the slender body PDE and the slender body approximation in the free endpoint setting. The bound is a sum of the same ε| log ε| term appearing in the closed loop setting and an endpoint term proportional to ε, where ε is now the maximum fiber radius.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1905-1978
Number of pages74
JournalArchive for Rational Mechanics and Analysis
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analysis
  • Mathematics (miscellaneous)
  • Mechanical Engineering


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