A regularised slender-body theory of non-uniform filaments

B. J. Walker, M. P. Curtis, K. Ishimoto, E. A. Gaffney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Resolving the detailed hydrodynamics of a slender body immersed in highly viscous Newtonian fluid has been the subject of extensive research, applicable to a broad range of biological and physical scenarios. In this work, we expand upon classical theories developed over the past fifty years, deriving an algebraically accurate slender-body theory that may be applied to a wide variety of body shapes, ranging from biologically inspired tapering flagella to highly oscillatory body geometries with only weak constraints, most significantly requiring that cross-sections be circular. Inspired by well known analytic results for the flow around a prolate ellipsoid, we pose an ansatz for the velocity field in terms of a regular integral of regularised Stokes-flow singularities with prescribed, spatially varying regularisation parameters. A detailed asymptotic analysis is presented, seeking a uniformly valid expansion of the ansatz integral, accurate at leading algebraic order in the geometry aspect ratio, to enforce no-slip boundary conditions and thus analytically justify the slender-body theory developed in this framework. The regularisation within the ansatz additionally affords significant computational simplicity for the subsequent slender-body theory, with no specialised quadrature or numerical techniques required to evaluate the regular integral. Furthermore, in the special case of slender bodies with a straight centreline in uniform flow, we derive a slender-body theory that is particularly straightforward via use of the analytic solution for a prolate ellipsoid. We evidence the validity of our simple theory with explicit numerical examples for a wide variety of slender bodies, and highlight a potential robustness of our methodology beyond its rigorously justified scope.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Jul 14 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-07
Acknowledged KAUST grant number(s): KUK-C1-013-04
Acknowledgements: B.J.W. is supported by the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), grant EP/N509711/1. K.I. is supported by JSPS-KAKENHI for Young Researchers (18K13456) and JST, PRESTO grant number JPMJPR1921. This publication is based, in part, on work supported by award no. KUK-C1-013-04, made by King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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