Pumping by flapping in a viscoelastic fluid

Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, University of California-San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, California 92093-0411, USA.
Physical Review E (Impact Factor: 2.29). 03/2010; 81(3 Pt 2):036312. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.81.036312
Source: PubMed


In a world without inertia, Purcell's scallop theorem states that in a Newtonian fluid a time-reversible motion cannot produce any net force or net flow. Here we consider the extent to which the nonlinear rheological behavior of viscoelastic fluids can be exploited to break the constraints of the scallop theorem in the context of fluid pumping. By building on previous work focusing on force generation, we consider a simple, biologically inspired geometrical example of a flapper in a polymeric (Oldroyd-B) fluid, and calculate asymptotically the time-average net fluid flow produced by the reciprocal flapping motion. The net flow occurs at fourth order in the flapping amplitude, and suggests the possibility of transporting polymeric fluids using reciprocal motion in simple geometries even in the absence of inertia. The induced flow field and pumping performance are characterized and optimized analytically. Our results may be useful in the design of micropumps handling complex fluids.

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