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Controllability of a Pair of Swimming Microrotors in a Bounded Domain at Low Reynolds Number

[+] Author Affiliations
Jake Buzhardt, Vitaliy Fedonyuk, Senbagaraman Sudarsanam, Phanindra Tallapragada

Clemson University, Clemson, SC

Paper No. DSCC2018-9013, pp. V003T32A004; 7 pages
  • ASME 2018 Dynamic Systems and Control Conference
  • Volume 3: Modeling and Validation; Multi-Agent and Networked Systems; Path Planning and Motion Control; Tracking Control Systems; Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and Application; Unmanned Ground and Aerial Vehicles; Vibration in Mechanical Systems; Vibrations and Control of Systems; Vibrations: Modeling, Analysis, and Control
  • Atlanta, Georgia, USA, September 30–October 3, 2018
  • Conference Sponsors: Dynamic Systems and Control Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5191-3
  • Copyright © 2018 by ASME


We investigate the dynamics of a pair of spinning spheres or microrotors in a fluid at low Reynolds numbers. These microrotors are each approximated by a rotlet, a fundamental singularity of the Stokes equation. Singularities of Stokes flows serve as useful theoretical models for microswimmers and micro-robots. Rotlet models of microswimmers have received less attention since a rotlet cannot generate translation by itself if the only control input is the rate of spin or strength of the rotlet. However a pair of rotlets can interact and execute net motion. In an unbounded domain of fluid, the positions of a pair of rotlets are not fully controllable due to the existence of an invariant. However, in a confined domain, we show that the positions of the pair of spheres are small time locally controllable. We show how control inputs can be constructed based on combinations of Lie brackets to move the rotlets from one point to another in the domain.

Copyright © 2018 by ASME
Topics: Reynolds number



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