Wall-induced translation of a rotating particle in a shear-thinning fluid

Ye Chen, Ebru Demir, Wei Gao, Y. N. Young, On Shun Pak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Particle-wall interactions have broad biological and technological applications. In particular, some artificial microswimmers capitalize on their translation-rotation coupling near a wall to generate directed propulsion. Emerging biomedical applications of these microswimmers in complex biological fluids prompt questions on the impact of non-Newtonian rheology on their propulsion. In this work, we report some intriguing effects of shear-thinning rheology, a ubiquitous non-Newtonian behaviour of biological fluids, on the translation-rotation coupling of a particle near a wall. One particularly interesting feature revealed here is that the wall-induced translation by rotation can occur in a direction opposite to what might be intuitively expected for an object rolling on a solid substrate. We elucidate the underlying physical mechanism and discuss its implications on the design of micromachines and bacterial motion near walls in complex fluids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number927
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Nov 25 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


  • micro-organism dynamics


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