Article

Aquatic manoeuvering with counter-propagating waves: a novel locomotive strategy

Department of Mechanical Engineering, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208, USA.
Journal of The Royal Society Interface (Impact Factor: 3.86). 12/2010; 8(60):1041-50. DOI: 10.1098/rsif.2010.0493
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Many aquatic organisms swim by means of an undulating fin. These undulations often form a single wave travelling from one end of the fin to the other. However, when these aquatic animals are holding station or hovering, there is often a travelling wave from the head to the tail, and another moving from the tail to the head, meeting in the middle of the fin. Our study uses a biomimetic fish robot and computational fluid dynamics on a model of a real fish to uncover the mechanics of these inward counter-propagating waves. In addition, we compare the flow structure and upward force generated by inward counter-propagating waves to standing waves, unidirectional waves, and outward counter-propagating waves (i.e. one wave travelling from the middle of the fin to the head, and another wave travelling from the middle of the fin to the tail). Using digital particle image velocimetry to capture the flow structure around the fish robot, and computational fluid dynamics, we show that inward counter-propagating waves generate a clear mushroom-cloud-like flow structure with an inverted jet. The two streams of fluid set up by the two travelling waves 'collide' together (forming the mushroom cap) and collect into a narrow jet away from the cap (the mushroom stem). The reaction force from this jet acts to push the body in the opposite direction to the jet, perpendicular to the direction of movement provided by a single travelling wave. This downward jet provides a substantial increase in the perpendicular force when compared with the other types of fin actuation. Animals can thereby move upward if the fin is along the bottom midline of the body (or downward if on top); or left-right if the fins are along the lateral margins. In addition to illuminating how a large number of undulatory swimmers can use elongated fins to move in unexpected directions, the phenomenon of counter-propagating waves provides novel motion capabilities for systems using robotic undulators, an emerging technology for propelling underwater vehicles.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
139 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper presents premier and innovative time-domain multi-scale method for shape identification in electro-sensing using pulse-type signals. The method is based on transform-invariant shape descriptors computed from filtered polarization tensors at multi-scales. The proposed algorithm enjoys a remarkable noise robustness even with far-field measurements at very limited angle of view. It opens a door for pulsed imaging using echolocation and induction data.
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tool manufacture and use are observed not only in humans but also in other animals such as mammals, birds and insects. Manufactured tools are used for biomechanical functions such as effective control of fluids and small solid objects and extension of reaching. These tools are passive and used with gravity and the animal users' own energy. From the perspective of evolutionary biology, manufactured tools are extended phenotypes of the genes of the animal and exhibit phenotypic plasticity. This incurs energetic cost of manufacture as compared to the case with a fixed tool. This paper studies mechanics and energetics aspects of tool manufacture and use in non-human beings. Firstly, it investigates possible mechanical mechanisms of the use of passive manufactured tools. Secondly, it formulates the energetic cost of manufacture and analyses when phenotypic plasticity benefits an animal tool maker and user. We take a synthetic approach and use a controlled physical model, i.e. a robot arm. The robot is capable of additively manufacturing scoop and gripper structures from thermoplastic adhesives to pick and place fluid and solid objects, mimicking primates and birds manufacturing tools for a similar function. We evaluate the effectiveness of tool use in pick-and-place and explain the mechanism for gripper tools picking up solid objects with a solid-mechanics model. We propose a way to formulate the energetic cost of tool manufacture that includes modes of addition and reshaping, and use it to analyse the case of scoop tools. Experiment results show that with a single motor trajectory, the robot was able to effectively pick and place water, rice grains, a pebble and a plastic box with a scoop tool or gripper tools that were manufactured by itself. They also show that by changing the dimension of scoop tools, the energetic cost of tool manufacture and use could be reduced. The work should also be interesting for engineers to design adaptive machines.
    Journal of The Royal Society Interface 11/2014; 11(100). DOI:10.1098/rsif.2014.0827 · 3.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The maneuverability demonstrated by the weakly electric ghost knifefish (Apteronotus albifrons) is a result of its highly flexible ribbon-like anal fin, which extends nearly three-quarters the length of its body and is composed of approximately 150 individual fin rays. To understand how movement of the anal fin controls locomotion we examined kinematics of the whole fin, as well as selected individual fin rays, during four locomotor behaviors executed by free-swimming ghost knifefish: forward swimming, backward swimming, heave (vertical) motion, and hovering. We used high-speed video (1000 fps) to examine the motion of the entire anal fin and we measured the three-dimensional curvature of four adjacent fin rays in the middle of the fin during each behavior to determine how individual fin rays bend along their length during swimming. Canonical discriminant analysis separated all four behaviors on anal fin kinematic variables and showed that forward and backward swimming behaviors contrasted the most: forward behaviors exhibited a large anterior wavelength and posterior amplitude while during backward locomotion the anal fin exhibited both a large posterior wavelength and anterior amplitude. Heave and hover behaviors were defined by similar kinematic variables; however, for each variable, the mean values for heave motions were generally greater than for hovering. Individual fin rays in the middle of the anal fin curved substantially along their length during swimming, and the magnitude of this curvature was nearly twice the previously measured maximum curvature for ray-finned fish fin rays during locomotion. Fin rays were often curved into the direction of motion, indicating active control of fin ray curvature, and not just passive bending in response to fluid loading.
    Zoology 10/2014; 117(5). DOI:10.1016/j.zool.2014.04.004 · 1.60 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Download
40 Downloads
Available from
May 19, 2014