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: 4.91). 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
 · 
98 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: An elongated dorsal and/or anal ribbon-fin to produce forward and backward propulsion has independently evolved in several groups of fishes. In these fishes, fin ray movements along the fin generate a series of waves that drive propulsion. There are no published data on the use of the dorsal ribbon-fin in the basal freshwater bowfin, Amia calva. In this study, frequency, amplitude, wavelength, and wave speed along the fin were measured in Amia swimming at different speeds (up to 1.0 body length/sec) to understand how the ribbon-fin generates propulsion. These wave properties were analyzed to (1) determine whether regional specialization occurs along the ribbon-fin, and (2) to reveal how the undulatory waves are used to control swimming speed. Wave properties were also compared between swimming with sole use of the ribbon-fin, and swimming with simultaneous use of the ribbon and pectoral fins. Statistical analysis of ribbon-fin kinematics revealed no differences in kinematic patterns along the ribbon-fin, and that forward propulsive speed in Amia is controlled by the frequency of the wave in the ribbon-fin, irrespective of the contribution of the pectoral fin. This study is the first kinematic analysis of the ribbon-fin in a basal fish and the model species for Amiiform locomotion, providing a basis for understanding ribbon-fin locomotion among a broad range of teleosts. J. Exp. Zool. 9999A: 1-16, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Journal of Experimental Zoology Part A Ecological Genetics and Physiology 09/2013; · 1.61 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: This paper aims at advancing the field of electro-sensing. It exhibits the physical mechanism underlying shape perception for weakly elec-tric fish. These fish orient themselves at night in complete darkness by employing their active electrolocation system. They generate a stable, high-frequency, weak electric field and perceive the transder-mal potential modulations caused by a nearby target with different admittivity than the surrounding water. In this paper, we explain how weakly electric fish might identify and classify a target, know-ing by advance that the latter belongs to a certain collection of shapes. The fish is able to learn how to identify certain targets and discriminate them from all other targets. Our model of the weakly electric fish relies on differential imaging, i.e., by forming an image from the perturbations of the field due to targets, and physics-based classification. The electric fish would first locate the target using a specific location search algorithm. Then it could extract, from the perturbations of the electric field, generalized (or high-order) polarization tensors of the target. Computing, from the extracted features, invariants under rigid motions and scaling yields shape de-scriptors. The weakly electric fish might classify a target by com-paring its invariants with those of a set of learned shapes. On the other hand, when measurements are taken at multiple frequencies, the fish might exploit the shifts and use the spectral content of the generalized polarization tensors to dramatically improve the stability with respect to measurement noise of the classification procedure in electro-sensing. Surprisingly, it turns out that the first-order po-larization tensor at multiple frequencies could be enough for the purpose of classification. A procedure to eliminate the background field in the case where the permittivity of the surrounding medium can be neglected, and hence improve further the stability of the classification process, is also discussed.
    submitted to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA). 02/2013;
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A surprising feature of animal locomotion is that organisms typically produce substantial forces in directions other than what is necessary to move the animal through its environment, such as perpendicular to, or counter to, the direction of travel. The effect of these forces has been difficult to observe because they are often mutually opposing and therefore cancel out. Indeed, it is likely that these forces do not contribute directly to movement but may serve an equally important role: to simplify and enhance the control of locomotion. To test this hypothesis, we examined a well-suited model system, the glass knifefish Eigenmannia virescens, which produces mutually opposing forces during a hovering behavior that is analogous to a hummingbird feeding from a moving flower. Our results and analyses, which include kinematic data from the fish, a mathematical model of its swimming dynamics, and experiments with a biomimetic robot, demonstrate that the production and differential control of mutually opposing forces is a strategy that generates passive stabilization while simultaneously enhancing maneuverability. Mutually opposing forces during locomotion are widespread across animal taxa, and these results indicate that such forces can eliminate the tradeoff between stability and maneuverability, thereby simplifying neural control.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/2013; · 9.74 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
21 Downloads
Available from
May 19, 2014