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Published December 18, 2017 | public
Journal Article Open

On the role of tip curvature on flapping plates


During the flapping motion of a fish's tail, the caudal fin exhibits antero-posterior bending and dorso-ventral bending, the latter of which is referred to as chord-wise bending herein. The impact of chord-wise tip curvature on the hydrodynamic forces for flapping plates is investigated to explore potential mechanisms to improve the maneuverability or the performance of autonomous underwater vehicles. First, actuated chord-wise tip curvature is explored. Comparison of rigid curved geometries to a rigid flat plate as a baseline suggests that an increased curvature decreases the generated forces. An actuated plate with a dynamic tip curvature is created to illustrate a modulation of this decrease in forces. Second, the impact of curvature is isolated using curved plates with an identical planform area. Comparison of rigid curved geometries as a baseline corroborates the result that an increased curvature decreases the generated forces, with the exception that presenting a concave geometry into the flow increases the thrust and the efficiency. A passively-actuated plate is designed to capitalize on this effect by presenting a concave geometry into the flow throughout the cycle. The dynamically and passively actuated plates show potential to improve the maneuverability and the efficiency of autonomous underwater vehicles, respectively.

Additional Information

© 2017 IOP Publishing. Received 1 September 2017. Revised 8 November 2017. Accepted 14 December 2017. Accepted Manuscript online 14 December 2017. Published 9 January 2018. This work was supported by the Charyk Bio-inspired Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology. NM was supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-1144469. The plates used for dye visualization were fabricated at the Caltech Library TechLab 3D Printing Facility, which was created and is sustained by funding from both the Caltech Moore-Hufstedler Fund and the Caltech Library.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023