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Computational Analysis of Undulatory Batoid Motion for Underwater Robotic Propulsion

[+] Author Affiliations
Nicholas Sharp, Virginia Hagen-Gates, Evan Hemingway, Molly Syme, Juelyan Via, Jeffrey Feaster, Javid Bayandor, Sunghwan Jung, Francine Battaglia, Andrew Kurdila

Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

Paper No. FEDSM2014-22077, pp. V01AT04A005; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 4th Joint US-European Fluids Engineering Division Summer Meeting collocated with the ASME 2014 12th International Conference on Nanochannels, Microchannels, and Minichannels
  • Volume 1A, Symposia: Advances in Fluids Engineering Education; Turbomachinery Flow Predictions and Optimization; Applications in CFD; Bio-Inspired Fluid Mechanics; Droplet-Surface Interactions; CFD Verification and Validation; Development and Applications of Immersed Boundary Methods; DNS, LES, and Hybrid RANS/LES Methods
  • Chicago, Illinois, USA, August 3–7, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: Fluids Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4621-6
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Underwater fish of the class Batoidea, commonly known as rays and skates, use large cartilaginous wings to propel themselves through the water. This motion is of great interest in bioinspired robotics as an alternative propulsion mechanism. Prior research has focused primarily on the oscillating kinematics used by some species which resembles flapping; this study investigates undulatory motion induced by propagating sinusoidal waves along the fin. An analytical model of undulatory kinematics is presented and correlated with biological literature, and the model is then simulated via unsteady computational fluid dynamics and multiparticle collision dynamics. A bioinspired robot, Batoid Underwater Robotics Testbed (BURT), was developed to test the kinematics of the undulating propulsion system proposed. Finally, BURT was utilized as a platform to investigate engineering challenges in undulating Batoid robotics.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Topics: Propulsion , Robotics



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