Vesicle electrohydrodynamics

Jonathan T. Schwalbe*, Petia M. Vlahovska, Michael J. Miksis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


A small amplitude perturbation analysis is developed to describe the effect of a uniform electric field on the dynamics of a lipid bilayer vesicle in a simple shear flow. All media are treated as leaky dielectrics and fluid motion is described by the Stokes equations. The instantaneous vesicle shape is obtained by balancing electric, hydrodynamic, bending, and tension stresses exerted on the membrane. We find that in the absence of ambient shear flow, it is possible that an applied stepwise uniform dc electric field could cause the vesicle shape to evolve from oblate to prolate over time if the encapsulated fluid is less conducting than the suspending fluid. For a vesicle in ambient shear flow, the electric field damps the tumbling motion, leading to a stable tank-treading state.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number046309
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 20 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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