Swimming at low Reynolds number in fluids with odd, or Hall, viscosity

Matthew F. Lapa, Taylor L. Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We apply the geometric theory of swimming at low Reynolds number to the study of nearly circular swimmers in two-dimensional fluids with nonvanishing "odd," or Hall, viscosity. The odd viscosity gives an off-diagonal contribution to the fluid stress tensor, which results in a number of striking effects. In particular, we find that a swimmer whose area is changing will experience a torque proportional to the rate of change of the area, with the constant of proportionality given by the coefficient ηo of odd viscosity. After working out the general theory of swimming in fluids with odd viscosity for a class of simple swimmers, we give a number of example swimming strokes which clearly demonstrate the differences between swimming in a fluid with conventional viscosity and a fluid which also has an odd viscosity. We also include a discussion of the extension of the famous Scallop theorem of low Reynolds number swimming to the case where the fluid has a nonzero odd viscosity. A number of more technical results, including a proof of the torque-area relation for swimmers of more general shape, are explained in a set of Appendixes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number043019
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 28 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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