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Optimal Swimming at Low Reynolds Numbers J. E. Avron,1

Summary: Optimal Swimming at Low Reynolds Numbers
J. E. Avron,1
O. Gat,2
and O. Kenneth1
Department of Physics, Technion, Haifa, 32000, Israel
Department of Electrical Engineering, Technion, Haifa, 32000, Israel
(Received 19 April 2004; published 28 October 2004)
Efficient swimming at low Reynolds numbers is a major concern of microbots. To compare the
efficiencies of different swimmers we introduce the notion of ``a swimming drag coefficient'' which
allows for the ranking of swimmers. We find the optimal swimmer within a certain class of two-
dimensional swimmers using conformal mapping techniques.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.93.186001 PACS numbers: 83.10.y, 45.40.Ln, 83.60.Yz
Motivation.-- Swimming at low Reynolds numbers is
the theory of the locomotion of small microscopic organ-
isms [19]. It is also relevant to the locomotion of small
robots [10]. Although microbots do not yet exist, they are
part of the grand vision of nanoscience [1113] and it is
important to understand the physical constraints that


Source: Avron, Joseph - Physics Department, Technion, Israel Institute of Technology


Collections: Physics