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The Hydrodynamics of a Micro-Rocket Propelled by a Deformable Bubble

1
Laboratory of Fluid Mechanics and Instabilities, EPFL, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
2
Linné Flow Centre and Swedish e-Science Research Centre (SeRC), KTH Mechanics, SE 10044 Stockholm, Sweden
3
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Fluids 2019, 4(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/fluids4010048
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 21 February 2019 / Accepted: 6 March 2019 / Published: 14 March 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Free surface flows)
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Abstract

We perform simulations to study the hydrodynamics of a conical-shaped swimming micro-robot that ejects catalytically produced bubbles from its inside. We underline the nontrivial dependency of the swimming velocity on the bubble deformability and on the geometry of the swimmer. We identify three distinct phases during the bubble evolution: immediately after nucleation the bubble is spherical and its inflation barely affects the swimming speed; then the bubble starts to deform due to the confinement gradient generating a force that propels the swimmer; while in the last phase, the bubble exits the cone, resulting in an increase in the swimmer velocity. Our results shed light on the fundamental hydrodynamics of the propulsion of catalytic conical swimmers and may help to improve the efficiency of these micro-machines. View Full-Text
Keywords: catalytic microswimmers; bubble-propelled microswimmers; microrockets; numerical simulations; self-propulsion catalytic microswimmers; bubble-propelled microswimmers; microrockets; numerical simulations; self-propulsion
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Gallino, G.; Zhu, L.; Gallaire, F. The Hydrodynamics of a Micro-Rocket Propelled by a Deformable Bubble. Fluids 2019, 4, 48.

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