The CFD-OctoProp project aims to investigate the fluid mechanics involved with the propulsion and locomotion systems of cephalopods by means of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) tools. The development of an accurate kinematic and fluid dynamics model of the propelling apparatus of these soft-bodied organisms is intended to aid in the design of an actuator which will eventually be implemented in an octopus-inspired robot. The primary focus of the research project will be the development of a series of numerical models capable of dealing with the fluid-structure interactions (FSI) which arise during the displacement of the robot in water. The CFD analysis will try and derive the most suitable shape and elastic characteristic of the siphon which is best suited for generating thrust in order to propel the robot octopus. Secondly, the incorporation of a kinematic model of the crawling octopus in a CFD code will be perfomed in order to provide the essential background on the techniques adopted by the octopus for optimizing its own motion through water. The final goal of this project is to support in the development of an underwater robot capable of unprecedented motion skills for application in environmental monitoring.
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