Flexible fibers in shear flow approach attracting periodic solutions.
The three-dimensional dynamics of a single non-Brownian flexible fiber in shear flow is evaluated numerically, in the absence of inertia. A wide range of ratios A of bending to hydrodynamic forces and hundreds of initial configurations are considered. We demonstrate that flexible fibers in shear flow exhibit much more complicated evolution patterns than in the case of extensional flow, where transitions to higher-order modes of characteristic shapes are observed when A exceeds consecutive threshold values. In shear flow, we identify the existence of an attracting steady configuration and different attracting periodic motions that are approached by long-lasting rolling, tumbling, and meandering dynamical modes, respectively. We demonstrate that the final stages of the rolling and tumbling modes are effective Jeffery orbits, with the constant parameter C replaced by an exponential function that either decays or increases in time, respectively, corresponding to a systematic drift of the trajectories. In the limit of C→0, the fiber aligns with the vorticity direction and in the limit of C→∞, the fiber periodically tumbles within the shear plane. For moderate values of A, a three-dimensional meandering periodic motion exists, which corresponds to intermediate values of C. Transient, close to periodic oscillations are also detected in the early stages of the modes.