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Periodic and Chaotic Orbits of Plane-Confined Micro-rotors in Creeping Flows

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We explore theoretically the complex dynamics and emergent behaviors of spinning spheres immersed in viscous fluid. The particles are coupled to each other via the fluid in which they are suspended: Each particle disturbs the surrounding fluid with a rotlet field and that fluid flow affects the motion of the other particles. We notice the emergence of intricate periodic or chaotic trajectories that depend on the rotors initial position and separation. The point-rotor motions confined to a plane bear similarities to the classic 2D point-vortex dynamics. Our analyses highlight the complexity of the interaction between just a few rotors and suggest richer behavior in denser populations. We discuss how the model gives insight into more complex systems and suggest possible extensions for future theoretical studies.

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The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the NSF through nsf-cbet 1437545.

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Correspondence to Enkeleida Lushi.

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Communicated by Paul Newton.

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Lushi, E., Vlahovska, P.M. Periodic and Chaotic Orbits of Plane-Confined Micro-rotors in Creeping Flows. J Nonlinear Sci 25, 1111–1123 (2015).

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