Bio-inspired solutions have been deeply investigated in the last two decades as a source of propulsive improvement for autonomous underwater vehicles. Despite the efforts made to pursue the substantial potential payoffs of marine animals' locomotion, the performance of biological swimmers is still far to reach. The possibility to design a machine capable of propelling itself like a marine animal strongly depends on the understanding of the mechanics principles underlying biological swimming. Therefore, the adoption of advanced simulation and measurement techniques is fundamental to investigate the fluid-structure interaction phenomena of aquatic animals' locomotion. Among those, computational fluid dynamics represents an invaluable tool to assess the propulsive loads due to swimming. However, the numerical predictions must be validated before they can be applied to the design of a bio-inspired robot. To this end, this paper presents the experimental setup devised to validate the fluid dynamics analysis performed on an oscillating foil. The numerical predictions led to the design of a strain gages-based sensor, which exploits the deflection and twisting of the foil shaft to indirectly measure the propulsive loads and obtain a complete dynamic characterization of the oscillating foil. The results obtained from the experiments showed a good agreement between the numerical predictions and the measured loads; the test equipment also allowed to investigate the potential benefits of a slender fish-like body placed before the spinning fin. Therefore, in future work, the system will be employed to validate the analysis performed on more sophisticated modes of locomotion.
Experimental Validation of a Bio-Inspired Thruster / Costa, D.; Palmieri, G.; Scaradozzi, D.; Callegari, M.. - In: JOURNAL OF DYNAMIC SYSTEMS, MEASUREMENT AND CONTROL. - ISSN 0022-0434. - STAMPA. - 143:8(2021). [10.1115/1.4050258]