Swimming in granular media

Takashi Shimada, Dirk Kadau, Troy Shinbrot, Hans J. Herrmann
2009 Physical Review E  
We study a simple model of periodic contraction and extension of large intruders in a granular bed to understand the mechanism for swimming in an otherwise solid media. Using an event-driven simulation, we find optimal conditions that idealized swimmers must use to critically fluidize a sand bed so that it is rigid enough to support a load when needed, but fluid enough to permit motion with minimal resistance. Swimmers - or other intruders - that agitate the bed too rapidly produce large voids
more » ... hat prevent traction from being achieved, while swimmers that move too slowly cannot travel before the bed re-solidifies around them i.e., the swimmers locally probe the fundamental time-scale in a granular packing.
doi:10.1103/physreve.80.020301 pmid:19792063 fatcat:blznlfph4fe7rjgtgay6g2oifq