Natural swimmers and the development of advanced biomimetic technologies

Frank Fish

West Chester University

Humpback whale flow, Credit: Eric Paterson

Humpback whale flow, Credit: Eric Paterson


Humpback whale propeller, Credit: Donna Kocak

Humpback whale propeller, Credit: Donna Kocak

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Pacific Forum—11:00 a.m.

The ability to control the flow of water around the body dictates the performance
of marine animals and technologies in the aquatic environment. Dolphins
and mantas are able to swim with high efficiency and maneuver by use of oscillating
propulsive surfaces. This mechanism makes these animals ideal platforms to
emulate in designing bio-inspired autonomous underwater vehicle. As an alternative
to active propulsion, passive flow control for improved aero/hydrodynamic
performance is displayed in the wing-like flippers of humpback whales. The novel
design of the flippers includes prominent leading edge tubercles. These structures
induce a flow field of separated vortices alternating with regions of accelerated flow.
The coupled flow regions maintain areas of attached flow and delay stall at high
angles of attack. Both active and passive flow control by large marine organisms
can be utilized in the bio-inspired design of engineered structures and commercial
products for enhanced performance in fluid environments.

Print version (PDF)

NextMay 16, Janna Nawroth

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