Escherichia coli (E. coli) and other bacteria are propelled through water by several helical flagella, which are rotated by motors embedded at random points on the cell wall. Depending on the handedness and rotation sense, the motion of the flagella induces a flow field that causes them to wrap around each other and form a bundle. Our objective is to understand and model the mechanics of this process. Full-scale flagella are 10 μm in length, 20 nm in diameter, and turn at a rate of 100 Hz. To accurately simulate bundling at a more easily observable scale, we built a scale model in which 20-cm-long helices are rotated in 100,000 cp silicone oil (Poly-di-methyl-siloxane). The highly viscous oil ensures an appropriately low Reynolds number. We developed a macro-scale particle image velocimetry (PIV) system to measure the full-field velocity distribution for rotating rigid helices and rotating flexible helices. In the latter case, the helices were made from epoxy-filled plastic tubing to give approximately the same ratio of elastic to viscous stresses as in the full-scale flagella. Comparison between PIV measurements and slender-body calculations shows good agreement for the case of rigid helices. For the flexible helices, we find that the flow field generated by a bundle in the steady state is well approximated by the flow generated by a single rigid helix with twice the filament radius.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 20, 2004
It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.
Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.
All for just $49/month
Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly
Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.
Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.
Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.
All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.
“Hi guys, I cannot tell you how much I love this resource. Incredible. I really believe you've hit the nail on the head with this site in regards to solving the research-purchase issue.”Daniel C.
“Whoa! It’s like Spotify but for academic articles.”@Phil_Robichaud
“I must say, @deepdyve is a fabulous solution to the independent researcher's problem of #access to #information.”@deepthiw
“My last article couldn't be possible without the platform @deepdyve that makes journal papers cheaper.”@JoseServera