Swimming of spermatozoa in a linear viscoelastic fluid.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

A modified resistive force theory is developed for a spermatozoon swimming in a general linear viscoelastic fluid. The theory is based on a Fourier decomposition of the flagellar velocity, which leads to solving the Stokes flow equations with a complex viscosity. We use a model spermatozoon with a spherical head which propagates small amplitude sinusoidal waves along its flagellum. Results are obtained for the velocity of propulsion and the rate of working for a free swimming spermatozoon and the thrust on a fixed spermatozoon. There is no change in propulsive velocity for a viscoelastic fluid compared to a Newtonian fluid. The rate of working does change however, decreasing with increasing elasticity of the fluid, for a Maxwell fluid. Thus the theory predicts that a spermatozoon can swim faster in a Maxwell fluid with the same expenditure of energy for a Newtonian fluid.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fulford, GR; Katz, DF; Powell, RL

Published Date

  • July 1998

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 35 / 4-5

Start / End Page

  • 295 - 309

PubMed ID

  • 10474656

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-5034

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0006-355X

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/s0006-355x(99)80012-2


  • eng