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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The hydrodynamics of lamprey locomotion
by Leftwich, Megan C., Ph.D., Princeton University, 2010, 128; 3428553
Abstract (Summary)

The lamprey, an anguilliform swimmer, propels itself by undulating most of its body. This type of swimming produces flow patterns that are highly three-dimensional in nature and not very well understood. However, substantial previous work has been done to understand two-dimensional unsteady propulsion, the possible wake structures and thrust performance. Limited studies of three-dimensional propulsors with simple geometries have displayed the importance of the third dimension in designing unsteady swimmers. Some of the results of those studies, primarily the ways in which vorticity is organized in the wake region, are seen in lamprey swimming as well. In the current work, the third dimension is not the only important factor, but complex geometry and body undulations also contribute to the hydrodynamics.

Through dye flow visualization, particle induced velocimetry and pressure measurements, the hydrodynamics of anguilliform swimming are studied using a custom built robotic lamprey. These studies all indicate that the undulations of the body are not producing thrust. Instead, it is the tail which acts to propel the animal. This conclusion led to further investigation of the tail, specifically the role of varying tail flexibility on hydrodymnamics. It is found that by making the tail more flexible, one decreases the coherence of the vorticity in the lamprey's wake. Additional flexibility also yields less thrust.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Smits, Alexander J.
School: Princeton University
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-B 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Zoology, Ocean engineering, Plasma physics
Keywords: Hydrodynamics, Lamprey, Lamprey locomotion, Swimming
Publication Number: 3428553
ISBN: 978-1-124-28012-7
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