Dynamics of self-propelled filaments pushing a load†
Worm-like filaments, which are propelled by a tangential homogeneous force along their contour, are studied as they push loads of different shapes and sizes. The resulting dynamics is investigated using Langevin dynamics simulations. The effects of size and shape of the load, propulsion strength, and thermal noise are systematically explored. The propulsive force and hydrodynamic friction of the load cause a compression in the filament that results in a buckling instability and versatile motion. Distinct regimes of elongated filaments, curved filaments, beating filaments, and filaments with alternating beating and circular motion are identified, and a phase diagram depending on the propulsion strength and the size of the load is constructed. Characteristic features of the different phases, such as beating frequencies and rotational velocities, are demonstrated to have a power-law dependence on the propulsive force.