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Harnessing elasticity to generate self-oscillation via an electrohydrodynamic instability

Author(s): Zhu, L; Stone, Howard A

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dc.contributor.authorZhu, L-
dc.contributor.authorStone, Howard A-
dc.identifier.citationZhu, L, Stone, HA. (2020). Harnessing elasticity to generate self-oscillation via an electrohydrodynamic instability. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 888 (A311 - A3135. doi:10.1017/jfm.2020.54en_US
dc.description.abstractnder a steady DC electric field of sufficient strength, a weakly conducting dielectric sphere in a dielectric solvent with higher conductivity can undergo spontaneous spinning (Quincke rotation) through a pitchfork bifurcation. We design an object composed of a dielectric sphere and an elastic filament. By solving an elasto-electro-hydrodynamic (EEH) problem numerically, we uncover an EEH instability exhibiting diverse dynamic responses. Varying the bending stiffness of the filament, the composite object displays three behaviours: a stationary state, undulatory swimming and steady spinning, where the swimming results from a self-oscillatory instability through a Hopf bifurcation. By conducting a linear stability analysis incorporating an elastohydrodynamic model, we theoretically predict the growth rates and critical conditions, which agree well with the numerical counterparts. We also propose a reduced model system consisting of a minimal elastic structure which reproduces the EEH instability. The elasto-viscous response of the composite structure is able to transform the pitchfork bifurcation into a Hopf bifurcation, leading to self-oscillation. Our results imply a new way of harnessing elastic media to engineer self-oscillations, and more generally, to manipulate and diversify the bifurcations and the corresponding instabilities. These ideas will be useful in designing soft, environmentally adaptive machines.en_US
dc.format.extentA311 - A3135en_US
dc.relation.ispartofJournal of Fluid Mechanicsen_US
dc.rightsAuthor's manuscripten_US
dc.titleHarnessing elasticity to generate self-oscillation via an electrohydrodynamic instabilityen_US
dc.typeJournal Articleen_US

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