Thrust production and wake structure of a batoid-inspired oscillating fin

R. P. Clark, A. J. Smits

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

130 Scopus citations


Experiments are reported on the hydrodynamic performance of a flexible fin. The fin replicates some features of the pectoral fin of a batoid fish (such as a ray or skate) in that it is actuated in a travelling wave motion, with the amplitude of the motion increasing linearly along the span from root to tip. Thrust is found to increase with non-dimensional frequency, and an optimal oscillatory gait is identified. Power consumption measurements lead to the computation of propulsive efficiency, and an optimal efficiency condition is evaluated. Wake visualizations are presented, and a vortex model of the wake near zero net thrust is suggested. Strouhal number effects on the wake topology are also illustrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-429
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Fluid Mechanics
StatePublished - Sep 10 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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