Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2016

Author's Department

Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Degree Type



The “9+2” flagellum is a complex structure with many interacting components, both passive and active, that have key dimensions on the order of nanometers. The behavior of the flagellum is readily measured at the scale of microns, with tools and techniques such as the optical trap and micromanipulation. Structural finite element software (ABAQUS) is used to set up and analyze a nanoscale structural model for flagella axoneme, and a finite element tool for solving partial differential equations (PDEs) (COMSOL) is used to set up and solve a one-dimensional (1-D) PDE model. The purpose of the study is to determine: (1) how well “coarse-grained” models of the flagellum, using one-dimensional partial differential equations (1-D-PDEs), can replicate the behavior of the “9+2” flagellum; and (2) what measurements of global properties of the flagellum at the micron scale can tell us about the nanoscale mechanics of the flagellum. The effects of mesh sizes and stiffness on the two models are studied. The effects of elastic parameters: flexural rigidity and shear stiffness, on the response of the 1-D PDE model are studied.


English (en)


Philip Bayly

Committee Members

Philip Bayly David Peters Jin-Yu Shao


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