Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - SCU Access Only


Santa Clara : Santa Clara University, 2019


Bioengineering; Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Emre Araci

Second Advisor

Christopher Kitts

Third Advisor

On Shun Pak


Swimming in viscous fluids is a challenging task due to the absence of inertia at low Reynolds number (Re). An improved understanding of physical principles lays the foundation for further developments in biomedical applications such as targeted drug delivery or microsurgery. A unicellular organism, amoeba, is able to escape from the constraints imposed by the scallop theorem and generate effective self-propulsion at low Re. This projects takes a bio-inspired approach to learn from the locomotion of amoeba. The project goal is to design, construct, and characterize a macroscopic swimmer in a dynamically similar environment to investigate a bio-inspired strategy to propel in the absence of inertia. First, we have studied theoretically and experimentally investigated a simplified model consisting of two expandable spheres connected by an extensible link, as a discrete model of the amoeboid movement. Second, we discuss ongoing progress in developing an improved version of the swimmer, leveraging techniques of soft lithography for manufacturing a swimmer more closely resembling the amoeboid movement.

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