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Title: Force scaling and efficiency of elongated median fin propulsion
Abstract Several fishes swim by undulating a thin and elongated median fin while the body is mostly kept straight, allowing them to perform forward and directional maneuvers. We used a robotic vessel with similar fin propulsion to determine the thrust scaling and efficiency. Using precise force and swimming kinematics measurements with the robotic vessel, the thrust generated by the undulating fin was found to scale with the square of the relative velocity between the free streaming flow and the wave speed. A hydrodynamic efficiency is presented based on propulsive force measurements and modelling of the power required to oscillate the fin laterally. It was found that the propulsive efficiency has a broadly high performance versus swimming speed, with a maximum efficiency of 75%. An expression to calculate the swimming speed over wave speed was found to depend on two parameters: A p / A e (ratio between body frontal area to fin swept area) and C D / C x (ratio of body drag to fin thrust coefficient). The models used to calculate propulsive force and free-swimming speed were compared with experimental results. The broader impacts of these results are discussed in relation to morphology and the function of undulating fin swimmers. In particular, we suggest that the ratio of fin and body height found in natural swimmers could be due to a trade-off between swimming efficiency and swimming speed.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1751548
NSF-PAR ID:
10332266
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Bioinspiration & Biomimetics
Volume:
17
Issue:
4
ISSN:
1748-3182
Page Range / eLocation ID:
046004
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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