We discuss the locomotion of a three-sphere microswimmer in a viscoelastic structured fluid characterized by typical length and time scales. We derive a general expression to link the average swimming velocity to the sphere mobilities. In this relationship, a viscous contribution exists when the time-reversal symmetry is broken, whereas an elastic contribution is present when the structural symmetry of the microswimmer is broken. As an example of a structured fluid, we consider a polymer gel, which is described by a "two-fluid" model. We demonstrate in detail that the competition between the swimmer size and the polymer mesh size gives rise to the rich dynamics of a three-sphere microswimmer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)