This paper presents an approach to quantify the unsteady fluid forces, moments and mass transport generated by swimming animals, based on measurements of the surrounding flow field. These goals are accomplished within a framework that is independent of the vorticity field, making it unnecessary to directly resolve boundary layers on the animal, body–vortex interactions, or interactions among vortex lines in the wake. Instead, the method identifies Lagrangian coherent structures in the flow, whose dynamics in flows with compact vorticity are shown to be well approximated by potential flow concepts, especially the Kirchhoff and deformation potentials from deformable body theory. Examples of the application of these methods are given for pectoral fin locomotion of the bluegill sunfish and undulatory swimming of jellyfish, and the methods are validated by analysis of a canonical starting vortex ring flow. The transition to a Lagrangian approach toward animal swimming measurements suggests the possibility of implementing recently developed particle tracking (vis-à-vis DPIV) techniques for fully three-dimensional measurements of animal swimming.
Experiments in Fluids – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 8, 2007
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