Vesicle electrohydrodynamics in DC electric fields

Lane C. McConnell*, Michael J. Miksis, Petia M. Vlahovska

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


We employ the boundary integral method to investigate the dynamics of a 2D vesicle exposed to a uniform DC electric field. The vesicle membrane is modelled as an infinitely thin, capacitive, area-incompressible interface, with the surrounding fluids acting as leaky dielectrics. Vesicle dynamics are determined by balancing the hydrodynamic, bending, tension and electric stresses on the membrane. Our investigations reveal dynamic transitions between oblate and prolate ellipsoidal shapes which depend on the ratio of the conductivities of the surrounding fluids. These transitions are characterized by a 'squaring' motion in which vesicles deform into rectangular profiles with corner-like regions of high curvature. In addition, it is observed that the electric field induces damped tumbling motion on a vesicle in shear flow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)797-817
Number of pages21
JournalIMA Journal of Applied Mathematics (Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Stokes flow
  • boundary integral method
  • electrohydrodynamics
  • lipid bilayer vesicle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Mathematics


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