Anomalous dynamics of an elastic membrane in an active fluid

Using numerical simulations, we characterized the behavior of an elastic membrane immersed in an active fluid. Our findings reveal a nontrivial folding and re-expansion of the membrane that is controlled by the interplay of its resistance to bending and the self-propulsion strength of the active components in solution. We show how flexible membranes tend to collapse into multifolded states, whereas stiff membranes fluctuate between an extended configuration and a singly folded state. This study provides a simple example of how to exploit the random motion of active particles to perform mechanical work at the microscale.