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Compact Vortex Generator Inspired By Squids

Vortex generators inspired by real-life squids, jellyfish and other cephalopods have been designed by a University of Colorado researcher. Kamran Mohseni, assistant professor of aerospace engineering sciences, is hoping that they can be used in a wide variety of applications.


(Numerical simulations and the computational mesh around RAV)

Biomimicry makes sense in underwater vehicles; cephalopods are masters at low speed manuevering. Pulsatile jet propulsion can have few moving parts, no drag-increasing protruding components and is very compact.

"Reliable docking mechanisms are essential for the operation of underwater vehicles, especially in harsh environments," Mohseni said. "We set out to resolve the trade off that many researchers settle for, which is a faster, but less precise, vehicle or a boxier one that is not as fast and more difficult to transport to work locations."

It also appears that the same techniques can be used at the very small end of the spectrum. Tiny capsules using vortex generators could conceivably manuever through the human bloodstream.

For other tiny propulsion systems, see

For larger UAVs that are squid-like but not pulsatile, check out Squid Robot Underwater Inspector Has Unique Propulsion. Via Eurekalert.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 12/14/2006)

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