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Published March 2011 | public
Journal Article

Jellyfish-inspired propulsion


Jellyfish are the oldest, simplest, and arguably most successful species of swimming animal in the world. Yet they are primarily considered a nuisance on beaches or, at best, an attraction for aquarium-goers. This talk will describe how a biology-inspired approach to engineering has placed jellyfish at the center of efforts to build next-generation underwater vehicles. In particular, physical principles of unsteady vortex dynamics are extracted from laboratory and SCUBA studies of jellyfish, and are subsequently applied to the design of a propeller-driven, unmanned underwater vehicle. Improvements in hydrodynamic efficiency of up to 50 percent are achieved in experiments, demonstrating the potential of bio-inspired approaches to propulsion even in the absence of direct biomimicry.

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© 2011 Oxford University Press.

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August 19, 2023
October 23, 2023