Long-time persistence of hydrodynamic memory boosts microparticle transport

Sean L. Seyler, Steve Pressé

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


In a viscous fluid, the past motion of an accelerating particle is retained as an imprint on the vorticity field, which decays slowly as t-3/2. At low Reynolds number, the Basset-Boussinesq-Oseen (BBO) equation correctly describes nonuniform particle motion, capturing hydrodynamic memory effects associated with this slow algebraic decay. Using the BBO equation, we numerically simulate driven single-particle transport to show that memory effects persist indefinitely under rather general driving conditions. In particular, when driving forces do not vary smoothly, hydrodynamic memory substantially lowers the effective transport friction. Remarkably, this enables coasting over a spatially uneven potential that otherwise traps particles modeled with pure Stokes drag. Our results provide direct physical insight into the role of particle-fluid coupling in nonequilibrium microparticle transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032003
JournalPhysical Review Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Oct 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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