Metachronal patterns in artificial cilia for low Reynolds number fluid propulsion

Edoardo Milana, Rongjing Zhang, Maria Rosaria Vetrano, Sam Peerlinck, Michael De Volder, Patrick R Onck, Dominiek Reynaerts, Benjamin Gorissen

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


Cilia are hair-like organelles, present in arrays that collectively beat to generate flow. Given their small size and consequent low Reynolds numbers, asymmetric motions are necessary to create a net flow. Here, we developed an array of six soft robotic cilia, which are individually addressable, to both mimic nature's symmetry-breaking mechanisms and control asymmetries to study their influence on fluid propulsion. Our experimental tests are corroborated with fluid dynamics simulations, where we find a good agreement between both and show how the kymographs of the flow are related to the phase shift of the metachronal waves. Compared to synchronous beating, we report a 50% increase of net flow speed when cilia move in an antiplectic wave with phase shift of -π/3 and a decrease for symplectic waves. Furthermore, we observe the formation of traveling vortices in the direction of the wave when metachrony is applied.

Originele taal-2English
TijdschriftScience Advances
Nummer van het tijdschrift49
StatusPublished - dec-2020

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