Gwynn Elfring

Assistant Professor  PDF, University of California, Santa Barbara Ph.D., University of California, San Diego B.Eng, M.A.Sc., University of Victoria ph: (604) 822-1287 fx: (604) 822-2403 email: website:

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 behavior 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 behavior of fluids is important in many flows from cells to large engineering processes and an active area of research.


  • G. Elfring, G. Leal, and T. Squires, “Marangoni forces in interfacial dilatational rheology,” Bulletin of the American Physical Society, vol. 58, 2013.
  • G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Buckling instability of squeezed droplets,” Physics of Fluids (1994-present), vol. 24, no. 7, p. 072102, 2012.
  • G. J. Elfring, Symmetry Breaking and Synchronization at Small Scales. University of California, San Diego, 2012.
  • G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Synchronization of Swimming Microorganisms,” Biophysical Journal, vol. 102, no. 3, p. 415a, 2012.
  • G. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Buckling instability of a pinned droplet,” in APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting Abstracts, 2011, vol. 1, p. 4008.
  •  G. J. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Passive hydrodynamic synchronization of two-dimensional swimming cells,” Physics of Fluids (1994-present), 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. Elfring and E. Lauga, “Elastic symmetry-breaking in synchronizing cells,” in APS Division of Fluid Dynamics Meeting Abstracts, 2010, vol. 1.
  • 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.

Refer to Google Scholar for more publications

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