Universal features of the shape of elastic fibres in shear flow

Paweł J. Zuk, Agnieszka M. Słowicka, Maria L. Ekiel-Jezewska, Howard A. Stone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We present a numerical study of the dynamics of an elastic fibre in a shear flow at low Reynolds number, and seek to understand several aspects of the fibre's motion using the equations for slender-body theory coupled to the elastica. The numerical simulations are performed in the bead-spring framework including hydrodynamic interactions in two theoretical schemes: the generalized Rotne-Prager-Yamakawa model and a multipole expansion corrected for lubrication forces. In general, the two schemes yield similar results, including for the dominant scaling features of the shape that we identify. In particular, we focus on the evolution of an initially straight fibre oriented in the flow direction and show that the time scales of fibre bending, curling and rotation, which depend on its length and stiffness, determine the overall motion and evolution of the shapes. We document several characteristic time scales and curvatures representative of the shape that vary as power laws of the bending stiffness and fibre length. The numerical results are further supported by an interpretation using an elastica model.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA31
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • Stokesian dynamics
  • particle/fluid flow
  • slender-body theory


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