Numerical Simulation of the Motion of Inextensible Capsules in Shear Flow Under the Effect of the Natural State

Xiting Niu, Lingling Shi, Tsorng Whay Pan*, Roland Glowinski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, a computational model for the natural state of an inextensible capsule has been successfully combined with a spring model of the capsule membrane to simulate the motion of the capsule in two-dimensional shear flow. Besides the viscosity ratio of the internal fluid and external fluid of the capsule, the natural state also plays a role for having the transition between two well known motions, tumbling and tank-treading (TT) with the long axis oscillates about a fixed inclination angle (a swinging mode), when varying the shear rate. Between tumbling and tank-treading, the intermittent behavior has been obtained for the capsule with a biconcave rest shape. The estimated critical value of the swelling ratio for having the intermittent transition behavior is less than 0.7, i.e., the capsules with rest shape closer to a full disk do not have the intermittent behavior in shear flow. The intermittent dynamics of the capsule in the transition region is a mixture of tumbling and TT with a swinging mode. Just like the motion of TT with a swing mode, which can be viewed as a tank-treading with an incomplete tumbling, the membrane tank-treads backward and forward within a small range during the tumbling motion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)787-807
Number of pages21
JournalCommunications in Computational Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)

User-Defined Keywords

  • capsule
  • intermittent region
  • Natural state
  • shear flow
  • tank-treading with a swinging mode
  • tumbling


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