Publication Detail

Three-dimensional Flow Structures and Vorticity Control in Fish-like Swimming

Q. Zhu, M. J. Wolfgang, Dick K.P. Yue
27 pp.
MITSG 02-14J
$4.00 DOM

We employ a three-dimensional, nonlinear inviscid numerical method, in conjunction with experimental data from live fish and from a fish-like robotic mechanism, to establish the three-dimensional features of the flow around a fish-like body swimming in a straight line, and to identify the principal mechanisms of vorticity control employed in fish-like swimming. The computations contain no structural model for the fish and hence no recoil correction. First, we show the near-body flow structure produced by the travelling-wave undulations of the bodies of a tuna and a giant danio. As revealed in cross-sectional planes, for tuna the flow contains dominant features resembling the flow around a two-dimensional oscillating plate over most of the length of the fish body. For the giant danio, on the other hand, a mixed longitudinal–transverse structure appears along the hind part of the body. We also investigate the interaction of the body-generated vortices with the oscillating caudal fin and with tail-generated vorticity. Two distinct vorticity interaction modes are identified: the first mode results in high thrust and is generated by constructive pairing of body-generated vorticity with same-sign tail-generated vorticity, resulting in the formation of a strong thrust wake; the second corresponds to high propulsive efficiency and is generated by destructive pairing of body-generated vorticity with opposite-sign tail-generated vorticity, resulting in the formation of a weak thrust wake.

type: Technical reports

Parent Project

Project No.: 2001-RT-2/RD-13
Title: Biomimetic Rigid Hull Vehicle with Flapping Foils for Enhanced Agility in the Surf Zone and Cluttered Environments