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Swimming of Spermatozoa in a Maxwell Fluid

Department of Finemechanics, Graduate School of Engineering, Tohoku University, Sendai 980-8579, Japan
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Micromachines 2019, 10(2), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/mi10020078
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 18 January 2019 / Accepted: 21 January 2019 / Published: 24 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microswimmer)
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Abstract

It has been suggested that the swimming mechanism used by spermatozoa could be adopted for self-propelled micro-robots in small environments and potentially applied to biomedical engineering. Mammalian sperm cells must swim through a viscoelastic mucus layer to find the egg cell. Thus, understanding how sperm cells swim through viscoelastic liquids is significant not only for physiology, but also for the design of micro-robots. In this paper, we developed a numerical model of a sperm cell in a linear Maxwell fluid based on the boundary element slender-body theory coupling method. The viscoelastic properties were characterized by the Deborah number (De), and we found that, under the prescribed waveform, the swimming speed decayed with the Deborah number in the small-De regime (De < 1.0). The swimming efficiency was independent of the Deborah number, and the decrease in the swimming speed was not significantly affected by the wave pattern. View Full-Text
Keywords: spermatozoa; viscoelastic fluid; Stokes flow spermatozoa; viscoelastic fluid; Stokes flow
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Omori, T.; Ishikawa, T. Swimming of Spermatozoa in a Maxwell Fluid. Micromachines 2019, 10, 78.

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