Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Squid-inspired Design Could Mean Better Handling Of Underwater Vehicles

Date:
December 18, 2006
Source:
University of Colorado at Boulder
Summary:
Inspired by the sleek and efficient propulsion of squid, jellyfish and other cephalopods, a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher has designed a new generation of compact vortex generators that could make it easier for scientists to maneuver and dock underwater vehicles at low speeds and with greater precision.

Numerical simulations and the computational mesh around RAV.
Credit: Image courtesy of CU-Boulder

Inspired by the sleek and efficient propulsion of squid, jellyfish and other cephalopods, a University of Colorado at Boulder researcher has designed a new generation of compact vortex generators that could make it easier for scientists to maneuver and dock underwater vehicles at low speeds and with greater precision.

In addition, the technology - seemingly inspired by the plots of two classic sci-fi films - may soon allow doctors to guide tiny capsules with jet thrusters through the human digestive tract, enabling them to diagnose disease and dispense medications.

Kamran Mohseni, an assistant professor of aerospace engineering sciences, will present these and other details at the American Geophysical Union's annual fall meeting Dec. 11-15 in San Francisco. A global network of scientists, the AGU describes its mission as the advancement of terrestrial, atmospheric and space research aimed at benefiting humanity.

"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."

Manned and unmanned underwater vehicles enable scientific researchers to explore ecosystems around the globe, from undersea volcanoes near Hawaii to the frigid depths beneath pack ice in the North and South poles. However, while the torpedo shape of some underwater vehicles ensures rapid deployment and high cruising speeds with minimal energy, their hydrodynamic design makes them more difficult to maneuver or dock at low speeds and in tight spaces, or to hover in precise locations.

Underwater craft with boxier designs are easier to dock and maneuver, but speed is sacrificed in the process. The vortex thrusters designed by CU-Boulder researchers offer speed with versatility and may enable researchers to explore previously inaccessible places. Currently, many designers are trying to devise better docking systems for underwater vehicles, but Mohseni said he and his collaborators wanted to improve the watercrafts' actual maneuvering capabilities.

"We didn't want to treat the symptom alone," he said. "We made it our goal to resolve a widespread problem."

Mohseni created his new generators after studying the formation of vortex rings, much like those formed by squid and jellyfish to move themselves underwater. Vortex rings are formed when a burst of fluid shoots out of an opening, moving in one direction and spreading out as it curls back.

The researcher's nature-inspired vortex generators could be used in a wide array of applications. One of them, a seeming take-off of technology featured in the sci-fi cult classics "Fantastic Voyage" and "Innerspace," employs tiny capsules that could travel through the human digestive tract to diagnose and treat diseases and disperse medications.

To date, Mohseni and his collaborators in the CU-Boulder aerospace engineering department have designed and tested three separate unmanned underwater vehicles. With the latest model, the team successfully conducted a parallel parking test. The team also has designed a series of other micro vehicles for air and underwater use. A National Science Foundation grant is funding their research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Colorado at Boulder. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Colorado at Boulder. "Squid-inspired Design Could Mean Better Handling Of Underwater Vehicles." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 18 December 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213353.htm>.
University of Colorado at Boulder. (2006, December 18). Squid-inspired Design Could Mean Better Handling Of Underwater Vehicles. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213353.htm
University of Colorado at Boulder. "Squid-inspired Design Could Mean Better Handling Of Underwater Vehicles." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/12/061212213353.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins