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The development of a bio-inspired method to recover energy from unsteady flow

Smith, B.J, Blake, J.I.R and Boyd, S.W. (2009) The development of a bio-inspired method to recover energy from unsteady flow , Southampton,UK University of Southampton 194pp. (Ship Science Reports, 146).

Record type: Monograph (Project Report)


It has been long understood that swimming marine animals exhibit far superior speed, manoeuvrability and efficiency than any manmade object. Despite this, lessons learned from nature are very rarely applied to engineering applications. In particular; it is understood that fish have the ability to alter their mode of swimming to interact with naturally produced vortices as a method of conserving energy and in certain instances extract energy from a flow. This thesis looks at the development of a bio-inspired method of recovering energy from unsteady flow with the specific application of powering an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV). During the course of this investigation, the novel techniques used by fish when swimming to reduce their power consumption and in certain instances extract energy from an unsteady flow shall be discussed; with particular emphasis on the way fish utilize vortices, namely the Kármán gait.
It shall be demonstrated that by modelling the body of a torpedo shaped AUV as a slender flexible cylinder with tapering end pieces, an analytical model to predict the dynamic stability for a slender flexible cylinder in a uniform axial flow shows a reasonable comparison to experimental observations assuming the ends are suitably slender. It shall be demonstrated that by placing a flexible cylinder in an unsteady flow a similar mechanism to that used by fish to extract energy from an unsteady flow can be exploited to get a slender flexible cylinder to move upstream with no power input, in effect giving the device a propulsive efficiency greater than 100%. A discussion on devices that could be used to capture energy with an estimate of the likely magnitude of power recovery shall be given.

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Published date: November 2009
Organisations: Fluid Structure Interactions Group


Local EPrints ID: 69635
PURE UUID: ac349265-a453-4405-8deb-14029f5d0120

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Date deposited: 20 Nov 2009
Last modified: 19 Jul 2017 00:07

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Author: B.J Smith
Author: J.I.R Blake
Author: S.W. Boyd

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