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Numerical and experimental study of a rotating magnetic particle chain in a viscous fluid.


A simple and fast numerical method is developed capable of accurately determining the 3D rotational dynamics of a magnetic particle chain in an infinite fluid domain. The focus is to control the alternating breakup and reformation of the bead chain which we believe is essential to achieve effective fluid mixing at small scales. The numerical scheme makes use of magnetic dipole moments and extended forms of the Oseen-Burgers tensor to account for both the magnetic and hydrodynamic interactions between the particles. It is shown that the inclusion of hydrodynamic interaction between the particles is crucial to obtain a good description of the particle dynamics. Only a small error of deviation is observed when benchmarking the numerical scheme against a more computationally intensive method, the direct simulation method. The numerical results are compared with experiments and the simulated rotational dynamics correspond well with those obtained from video-microscopy experiments qualitatively and quantitatively. In addition, a dimensionless number (R(T)) is derived as the sole control parameter for the rotational bead chain dynamics. Numerically and experimentally, R(T)≈ 1 is the boundary between rigid "rod" and dynamic "breaking and reformation" behaviors.