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Hydrodynamics of ciliary propulsion

Abstract : A numerical approach is developed to study the effect on a fluid of the regular oscillations of an array of flexible cilia which hinge around points on a wall. The specific application studied concerns the ctenophore Pleurobrachia pileus, a small marine invertebrate of quasi-spherical shape and diameter of the order of the centimeter which swims in water thanks to the rhythmic beating of eight rows of hair-like cilia aligned along its body. Only one row of cilia is studied here, in a three-dimensional setting. The technique presented is general enough to allow its application to a variety of fluid-structure interaction problems. The physical mechanisms of the propulsion are highlighted, by analysing the results of three-dimensional simulations. A parametric study involving natural and non-natural parameters leads to a better understanding of the propulsive characteristics of ctenophores; results show that the specific power expended increases with the increase of the beating frequency of the row of cilia, in agreement with experiments.
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Antoine Dauptain, Julien Favier, Alessandro Bottaro. Hydrodynamics of ciliary propulsion. Journal of Fluids and Structures, Elsevier, 2008, 24 (8), pp.1156-1165. ⟨10.1016/j.jfluidstructs.2008.06.007⟩. ⟨hal-01073968⟩

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