Fluid-mechanical interaction of flexible bacterial flagella by the immersed boundary method

Sookkyung Lim, Charles S. Peskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Flagellar bundling is an important aspect of locomotion in bacteria such as Escherichia coli. To study the hydrodynamic behavior of helical flagella, we present a computational model that is based on the geometry of the bacterial flagellar filament at the micrometer scale. We consider two model flagella, each of which has a rotary motor at its base with the rotation rate of the motor set at 100 Hz. Bundling occurs when both flagella are left-handed helices turning counterclockwise (when viewed from the nonmotor end of the flagellum looking back toward the motor) or when both flagella are right-handed helices turning clockwise. Helical flagella of the other combinations of handedness and rotation direction do not bundle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number036307
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 19 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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