Gwynn Elfring

Assistant Professor, B.Eng, M.A.Sc., (University of Victoria), Ph.D., (University of California, San Diego), PDF, (University of California, Santa Barbara)

phone: 604-822-1287
fax: 604-822-2403


Research Interests

My research involves using the methods of applied mathematics, typically asymptotic analysis or numerical methods, to solve problems in science and engineering, often in collaboration with or inspired by experimentalists. My current research interests include:

  • Theoretical Fluid Mechanics
  • Complex Fluids
  • Cell Biomechanics
  • Capillary Phenomena
  • Applied Mathematics


Current Research Work

Biological Fluid Mechanics

A bulk of my work has been on the mechanics of bio-locomotion and cell-cell interactions, studying how cells swim, how they can deform one another passively via fluid-structure interactions when in close proximity and how this affects collective motility. I am also interested in how active particles, such as swimming cells, affect the mechanical properties of fluids.

Capillary Phenomena

Even though the equations governing capillary phenomena can be quite simple, the behaviour of interfacial systems can be both rich and mysterious. My recent work in this area explored an experimentally observed shape instability of squeezed droplets. In particular it was shown that if the droplet is sufficiently compressed at the top by a surface, it may develop a buckling instability at a critical compression.

Complex Fluids

Determining how to properly capture non-Newtonian effects and how they affect the behaviour of fluids is important in many flows from cells to large engineering processes and an active area of research.


  • G. J. Elfring, E. Lauga, “Theory of locomotion in complex fluids,” Complex Fluids in Biological Systems, Springer, pp. 285–319, 2014.
  • G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Buckling instability of squeezed droplets,” Physics of Fluids, vol. 24, no. 7, p. 072102, 2012.
  •  G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Passive hydrodynamic synchronization of two-dimensional swimming cells,” Physics of Fluids, vol. 23, no. 1, p. 011902, 2011.
  • G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Synchronization of flexible sheets,” Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 674, pp. 163–173, 2011.
  • M. Sauzade, G. J. Elfring, and E. Lauga, “Taylor’s swimming sheet: Analysis and improvement of the perturbation series,” Physica D: Nonlinear Phenomena, vol. 240, no. 20, pp. 1567–1573, 2011.
  • G. J. Elfring, O. S. Pak, and E. Lauga, “Two-dimensional flagellar synchronization in viscoelastic fluids,” Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 646, pp. 505 515, 2010.
  • G. J. Elfring, and E. Lauga, “Synchronization of swimming microorganisms” Physical Review Letters, vol. 103, pp. 088101, 2009.

more >>

a place of mind, The University of British Columbia

Faculty of Applied Science
KAIS 5000 - 2332 Main Mall ,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4 , Canada
Tel: 604.822.6413
Department of Mechanical Engineering
2054-6250 Applied Science Lane,
Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z4, Canada
Tel: 604.822.2781
Fax: 604.822.2403

Emergency Procedures | Accessibility | Contact UBC  | © Copyright The University of British Columbia