Stability of a dumbbell micro-swimmer

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9 Citations (Scopus)


A squirmer model achieves propulsion by generating surface squirming velocities. This model has been used to analyze the movement of micro-swimmers, such as microorganisms and Janus particles. Although squirmer motion has been widely investigated, motions of two connected squirmers, i.e., a dumbbell squirmer, remain to be clarified. The stable assembly of multiple microswimmers could be a key technology for future micromachine applications. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the swimming behavior and stability of a dumbbell squirmer. We first examined far-field stability through linear stability analysis, and found that stable forward swimming could not be achieved by a dumbbell squirmer in the far field without the addition of external torque. We then investigated the swimming speed of a dumbbell squirmer connected by a short rigid rod using a boundary element method. Finally, we investigated the swimming stability of a dumbbell squirmer connected by a spring. Our results demonstrated that stable side-by-side swimming can be achieved by pullers. When the aft squirmer was a strong pusher, fore and aft swimming were stable and swimming speed increased significantly. The findings of this study will be useful for the future design of assembled micro-swimmers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number33
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jan 7


  • Boundary element method
  • Hydrodynamic interaction
  • Linear stability analysis
  • Locomotion
  • Squirmer
  • Stokes flow


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