Fluid transport by active elastic membranes

activemembraneA flexible membrane deforming its shape in time can self-propel in a viscous fluid. Alternatively, if the membrane is anchored, its deformation will lead to fluid transport. Past work in this area focused on situations where the deformation kinematics of the membrane were prescribed. Here we consider models where the deformation of the membrane is not prescribed, but instead the membrane is internally forced. Both the time-varying membrane shape and the resulting fluid motion result then from a balance between prescribed internal active stresses, internal passive resistance, and external viscous stresses. We introduce two specific models for such active internal forcing: one where a distribution of active bending moments is prescribed, and one where active inclusions exert normal stresses on the membrane by pumping fluid through it. In each case, we asymptotically calculate the membrane shape and the fluid transport velocities for small forcing amplitudes, and recover our results using scaling analysis.

A. A. Evans and E. Lauga, Fluid transport by active elastic membranes, Phys. Rev. E, 84 031924 (2011) pdf


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