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Elastohydrodynamics of a sliding, spinning and sedimenting cylinder near a soft wall

  • Thomas Salez (a1) (a2) and L. Mahadevan (a1)


We consider the motion of a fluid-immersed negatively buoyant particle in the vicinity of a thin compressible elastic wall, a situation that arises in a variety of technological and natural settings. We use scaling arguments to establish different regimes of sliding, and complement these estimates using thin-film lubrication dynamics to determine an asymptotic theory for the sedimentation, sliding and spinning motions of a cylinder. The resulting theory takes the form of three coupled nonlinear singular-differential equations. Numerical integration of the resulting equations confirms our scaling relations and further yields a range of unexpected behaviours. Despite the low-Reynolds-number feature of the flow, we demonstrate that the particle can spontaneously oscillate when sliding, can generate lift via a Magnus-like effect, can undergo a spin-induced reversal effect and also shows an unusual sedimentation singularity. Our description also allows us to address a sedimentation–sliding transition that can lead to the particle coasting over very long distances, similar to certain geophysical phenomena. Finally, we show that a small modification of our theory allows us to generalize the results to account for additional effects such as wall poroelasticity.


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