Propulsive matrix of a helical flagellum

Author :H.P. Zhang, B. Liu, B. Rodenborn, and H.L. Swinney
Publication :Chinese Physics B
Volume :23
Number :114703
Year :2014
DOI: : 10.1088/1674-1056/23/11/114703


We study the propulsion matrix of bacterial flagella numerically using slender body theory and the regularized Stokeslet method in a biologically relevant parameter regime. All three independent elements of the matrix are measured by computing propulsive force and torque generated by a rotating flagellum, and the drag force on a translating flagellum. Numerical results are compared with the predictions of resistive force theory, which is often used to interpret micro-organism propulsion. Neglecting hydrodynamic interactions between different parts of a flagellum in resistive force theory leads to both qualitative and quantitative discrepancies between the theoretical prediction of resistive force theory and the numerical results. We improve the original theory by empirically incorporating the effects of hydrodynamic interactions and propose new expressions for propulsive matrix elements that are accurate over the parameter regime explored.