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Synthetic Jet Propulsion for Small Underwater Vehicles

Thomas, AnnMarie Polsenberg and Milano, Michele and G’Sell, Maxwell Grazier and Fischer, Kathleen and Burdick, Joel (2005) Synthetic Jet Propulsion for Small Underwater Vehicles. In: 2005 IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA). IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation . IEEE , Piscataway, NJ, pp. 181-187. ISBN 0-7803-8914-X.

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This paper proposes a new synthetic jet actuation concept for small, low speed, highly maneuverable AUVs. Synthetic jet thrusters, which produce jets of vortex rings, are inspired by the pulsatile jet propulsion of salps, jellyfish, and squid. To assess the potential utility of this scheme, we developed synthetic jet actuator prototypes, and verified their function via both force measurement and flow visualization experiments. We used a genetic-algorithm based technique for optimizing the actuation profile of the thrusters. Also presented is an initial discussion of vehicle design. Our conclusion is that synthetic jet thrusters are a viable propulsion method for small underwater vehicles.

Item Type:Book Section
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Additional Information:© 2005 IEEE. Issue Date: 18-22 April 2005. Date of Current Version: 10 January 2006. This work could not have been accomplished without the assistance of Professor Mory Gharib of Caltech. We would like to thank Vicente Fernandez, Aimee Eddins, Jesse Escobeda, and Joanna Cohen for their work on designing and building the thrusters. John Dabiri provided help with the vortex modeling. The first author was supported by a Department of Defense fellowship. Partial support was also provided by the National Science Foundation (NSF9402726).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs); synthetic jet; vortex ring; optimization; propulsion
Series Name:IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20110825-091923300
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Official Citation:Thomas, A.P.; Milano, M.; G'Sell, M.G.; Fischer, K.; Burdick, J.; , "Synthetic Jet Propulsion for Small Underwater Vehicles," Robotics and Automation, 2005. ICRA 2005. Proceedings of the 2005 IEEE International Conference on , vol., no., pp. 181- 187, 18-22 April 2005 doi: 10.1109/ROBOT.2005.1570116 URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:25088
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:26 Aug 2011 22:17
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:03

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