Hydrodynamic thrust generation and power consumption investigations for piezoelectric fins with different aspect ratios
G.W. Woodruff School of Mechanical Engineering, GE Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332, USA
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Received: 14 July 2015
Revised: 2 November 2015
Published online: 15 December 2015
Bio-inspired hydrodynamic thrust generation using piezoelectric transduction has recently been explored using Macro-Fiber Composite (MFC) actuators. The MFC technology strikes a balance between the actuation force and structural deformation levels for effective swimming performance, and additionally offers geometric scalability, silent operation, and ease of fabrication. Recently we have shown that mean thrust levels comparable to biological fish of similar size can be achieved using MFC fins. The present work investigates the effect of length-to-width (L/b) aspect ratio on the hydrodynamic thrust generation performance of MFC cantilever fins by accounting for the power consumption level. It is known that the hydrodynamic inertia and drag coefficients are controlled by the aspect ratio especially for L/b< 5. The three MFC bimorph fins explored in this work have the aspect ratios of 2.1, 3.9, and 5.4. A nonlinear electrohydroelastic model is employed to extract the inertia and drag coefficients from the vibration response to harmonic actuation for the first bending mode. Experiments are then conducted for various actuation voltage levels to quantify the mean thrust resultant and power consumption levels for different aspect ratios. Variation of the thrust coefficient of the MFC bimorph fins with changing aspect ratio is also semi-empirically modeled and presented.
© EDP Sciences, Springer-Verlag, 2015