Micro-swimmers such as spermatozoa are able to efficiently navigate through viscous fluids that contain a sparse network of fibers or other macromolecules. We utilize the Brinkman equation to capture the fluid dynamics of sparse and stationary obstacles that are represented via a single resistance parameter. The method of regularized Brinkmanlets is utilized to solve for the fluid flow and motion of the swimmer in 2-dimensions when assuming the flagellum (tail) propagates a curvature wave. Extending previous studies, we investigate the dynamics of swimming when varying the resistance parameter, head or cell body radius, and preferred beat form parameters. For a single swimmer, we determine that increased swimming speed occurs for a smaller cell body radius and smaller fluid resistance. Progression of swimmers exhibits complex dynamics when considering hydrodynamic interactions; attraction of two swimmers is a robust phenomenon for smaller beat amplitude of the tail and smaller fluid resistance. Wall attraction is also observed, with a longer time scale of wall attraction with a larger resistance parameter.
Jeznach, C., & Olson, S. D. (2020). Dynamics of Swimmers in Fluids with Resistance. Fluids, 5(1), 14. https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids5010014
*denotes a WPI undergraduate student author