Title: Locomotion and Rotation with three stiff
legs at Low Reynolds Number
For biological organisms the ability to turn and reorient in space is of vital importance to their evolutionary fitness. Motivated by the kinematics of swimming crustaceans, this paper analyzes the hydrodynamics of a theoretical tripodal organism whose legs extend radially from a spherical body with small radius. Each leg moves sinusoidally about a specified time-averaged angle relative to the swimmer’s orientation. Arguments of symmetry are presented to establish expectations about the swimmer’s kinematic dynamics; then, applying classical results from slender-body theory to the model we specify a resistance matrix and present numerical results to the equations of motion depending on the amplitude, phase, and average angle for each leg. As the prescribed phase shift of each leg is varied the model predicts that maximal turning effciency occurs when the phase
difference between adjacent legs is 2π/3 with maximal net translation occurring coincidentally.