Annual Reviews Electronic Back Volume Collection 1932-2001ff
Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Production Engineering, Mining and Metallurgy, Traffic Engineering, Precision Mechanics
Mammalian fertilization requires the coordinated activity of motile spermatozoa, muscular contractions of the uterus and oviduct, as well as ciliary beating. These elastic structures generate forces that drive fluid motion, but their configurations are, in turn, determined by the fluid dynamics. We review the basic fluid mechanical aspects of reproduction, including flagellar/ciliary beating and peristalsis. We report on recent biological studies that have shed light on the relative importance of the mechanical ingredients of reproduction. In particular, we examine sperm motility in the reproductive tract, ovum pickup and transport in the oviduct, as well as sperm-egg interactions. We review recent advances in understanding the internal mechanics of cilia and flagella, flagellar surface interaction, sperm motility in complex fluids, and the role of fluid dynamics in embryo transfer. We outline promising computational fluid dynamics frameworks that may be used to investigate these complex, fluid-structure interactions.
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