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Hydrodynamic study of freely swimming shark fish propulsion for marine vehicles using 2D particle image velocimetry


Two-dimensional velocity fields around a freely swimming freshwater black shark fish in longitudinal (XZ) plane and transverse (YZ) plane are measured using digital particle image velocimetry (DPIV). By transferring momentum to the fluid, fishes generate thrust. Thrust is generated not only by its caudal fin, but also using pectoral and anal fins, the contribution of which depends on the fish’s morphology and swimming movements. These fins also act as roll and pitch stabilizers for the swimming fish. In this paper, studies are performed on the flow induced by fins of freely swimming undulatory carangiform swimming fish (freshwater black shark, L = 26 cm) by an experimental hydrodynamic approach based on quantitative flow visualization technique. We used 2D PIV to visualize water flow pattern in the wake of the caudal, pectoral and anal fins of swimming fish at a speed of 0.5–1.5 times of body length per second. The kinematic analysis and pressure distribution of carangiform fish are presented here. The fish body and fin undulations create circular flow patterns (vortices) that travel along with the body waves and change the flow around its tail to increase the swimming efficiency. The wake of different fins of the swimming fish consists of two counter-rotating vortices about the mean path of fish motion. These wakes resemble like reverse von Karman vortex street which is nothing but a thrust-producing wake. The velocity vectors around a C-start (a straight swimming fish bends into C-shape) maneuvering fish are also discussed in this paper. Studying flows around flapping fins will contribute to design of bioinspired propulsors for marine vehicles.