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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1860/2752

Title: The development of a biologically inspired propulsor for unmanned underwater vehicles
Authors: Tangorra, James Louis
Davidson, S. Naomi
Hunter, Ian W.
Madden, Peter G. A.
Lauder, George V.
Dong, Haibo
Bozkurttas, Meliha
Mittal, Rajat
Keywords: Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV);Biorobotic;Design;Drag;Pectoral Fin;Robotic;Thrust;Unmanned Underwater Vehicle (UUV)
Issue Date: Jul-2007
Publisher: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Citation: IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering, 32(3): pp. 533-550
Abstract: Fish are remarkable in their ability to maneuver and to control their body position. This ability is the result of the coordinated movement of fins which extend from the body and form control surfaces that can create and vector forces in 3-D. We have embarked on a research program designed to develop a maneuvering propulsor for unmanned undersea vehicles (UUVs) that is based on the pectoral fin of the bluegill sunfish. For this, the anatomy, kinematics, and hydrodynamics of the sunfish pectoral fin were investigated experimentally and through the use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations. These studies identified that the kinematics of the sunfish pectoral fin are very complex and are not easily described by traditional “rowing”- and “flapping”-type kinematics. A consequence of the complex motion is that the pectoral fin can produce forward thrust during both its outstroke (abduction) and instroke (adduction), and while doing so generates only small lateral and lift forces. The results of the biological studies were used to guide the design of robotic pectoral fins which were built as experimental devices and used to investigate the mechanisms of thrust production and control. Because of a design that was based heavily on the anatomy of the sunfish fin, the robotic pectoral fins had the level of control and degrees of freedom necessary to reproduce many of the complex fin motions used by the sunfish during steady swimming. These robotic fins are excellent experimental tools, and are an important first step towards developing propulsive devices that will give the next generation of UUVs the ability to produce and control thrust like highly maneuverable fish.
URI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1109/JOE.2007.903362
Appears in Collections:Faculty Research and Publications (MEM)

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