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Hydrodynamics of an under-actuated plesiosaur-inspired robot

Hydrodynamics of an under-actuated plesiosaur-inspired robot
Hydrodynamics of an under-actuated plesiosaur-inspired robot
Underwater vehicles are increasingly important tools for use in science and engineering, but maneuverability and mission life seem to be mutually exclusive goals. Inspired by the unique swimming method of the plesiosaur, which used four flippers of essentially equal size and musculature, we analyzed designed and built an underwater vehicle with the potential for both gliding and active maneuvering modes. Using 2D simulations and strip theory approximation to account for the changing arc length along the flipper span, we studied the wake and forces on the foils and determined the optimum flipper geometry, spacing and kinematics. To reduce mechanical and control complexity and cost, we next studied the impact of under-actuated kinematics. Even after optimizing pivot location and range of motion, leaving the foils free to pitch was found to reduce efficiency by approximately 50%. Based on these specifications, the vehicle was built and tested over a range of free swimming and maneuvering cases using motion tracking equipment. The excellent maneuverability of the under-actuated vehicle validates the concept, and the new platform should enable further detailed experimental measurements in the future.
Weymouth, Gabriel
b0c85fda-dfed-44da-8cc4-9e0cc88e2ca0
Devereux, Kate
5950f511-075d-42d5-a25e-617f716cd871
Copsey, Nick
e2836e71-61c4-467d-ac81-fef2ab0eabb9
Muscutt, Luke
2388de6b-887f-4472-b2b6-b4df5e1c4346
Downes, Jon
ebc0f09b-9d33-4815-bedf-bc77df59c822
Ganapathisubramani, Bharath
83fd359c-27c2-452d-b00a-d4b17ed419d5
Weymouth, Gabriel
b0c85fda-dfed-44da-8cc4-9e0cc88e2ca0
Devereux, Kate
5950f511-075d-42d5-a25e-617f716cd871
Copsey, Nick
e2836e71-61c4-467d-ac81-fef2ab0eabb9
Muscutt, Luke
2388de6b-887f-4472-b2b6-b4df5e1c4346
Downes, Jon
ebc0f09b-9d33-4815-bedf-bc77df59c822
Ganapathisubramani, Bharath
83fd359c-27c2-452d-b00a-d4b17ed419d5

Weymouth, Gabriel, Devereux, Kate, Copsey, Nick, Muscutt, Luke, Downes, Jon and Ganapathisubramani, Bharath (2017) Hydrodynamics of an under-actuated plesiosaur-inspired robot. APS Division of Fluid Dynamics (Fall) 2017, [F9.003].

Record type: Article

Abstract

Underwater vehicles are increasingly important tools for use in science and engineering, but maneuverability and mission life seem to be mutually exclusive goals. Inspired by the unique swimming method of the plesiosaur, which used four flippers of essentially equal size and musculature, we analyzed designed and built an underwater vehicle with the potential for both gliding and active maneuvering modes. Using 2D simulations and strip theory approximation to account for the changing arc length along the flipper span, we studied the wake and forces on the foils and determined the optimum flipper geometry, spacing and kinematics. To reduce mechanical and control complexity and cost, we next studied the impact of under-actuated kinematics. Even after optimizing pivot location and range of motion, leaving the foils free to pitch was found to reduce efficiency by approximately 50%. Based on these specifications, the vehicle was built and tested over a range of free swimming and maneuvering cases using motion tracking equipment. The excellent maneuverability of the under-actuated vehicle validates the concept, and the new platform should enable further detailed experimental measurements in the future.

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More information

Published date: 1 November 2017

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 437573
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/437573
PURE UUID: 8206fc94-1408-4edc-9de5-49860375ae87
ORCID for Gabriel Weymouth: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5080-5016
ORCID for Jon Downes: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-2027-4474

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Date deposited: 05 Feb 2020 17:35
Last modified: 06 Feb 2020 01:33

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