Red blood cells and other nonspherical capsules in shear flow: Oscillatory dynamics and the tank-treading-to-tumbling transition

J. M. Skotheim, T. W. Secomb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

198 Scopus citations

Abstract

We consider the motion of red blood cells and other nonspherical microcapsules dilutely suspended in a simple shear flow. Our analysis indicates that depending on the viscosity, membrane elasticity, geometry, and shear rate, the particle exhibits either tumbling, tank-treading of the membrane about the viscous interior with periodic oscillations of the orientation angle, or intermittent behavior in which the two modes occur alternately. For red blood cells, we compute the complete phase diagram and identify a novel tank-treading-to-tumbling transition as the shear rate decreases. Observations of such motions coupled with our theoretical framework may provide a sensitive means of assessing capsule properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number078301
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume98
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 13 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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