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Bioinspir Biomim. 2013 Sep;8(3):036006. doi: 10.1088/1748-3182/8/3/036006. Epub 2013 Jul 15.

CFD based investigation on the impact acceleration when a gannet impacts with water during plunge diving.

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  • 1Robotic Institute in School of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Beihang University, Beijing 100191, People's Republic of China.

Abstract

Plunge diving is the most commonly used feeding method of a gannet, which can make the gannet transit from air to water rapidly and successfully. A large impact acceleration can be generated due to the air-to-water transition. However, the impact acceleration experienced by the gannet during plunge diving has not been studied. In this paper, this issue is investigated by using the CFD method. The effect of the dropping height and the water-entry inclination angle on the impact acceleration is considered. The results reveal that the impact acceleration along the longitudinal body axis increases with either of the two parameters. The peak time decreases with the dropping height. A quadratic relation is found between the peak impact acceleration and the initial water-entry velocity. According to the computation, when the dropping height is 30 m (most of gannets plunge from about this height), the peak impact acceleration can reach about 23 times the gravitational acceleration, which will exert a considerable force on the gannet body. Furthermore, the pressure distribution of different water-entry inclination angles indicates that the large pressure asymmetry caused by a small oblique angle may lead to a large impact acceleration in the direction perpendicular to the longitudinal body axis and cause damage to the neck of the gannet, which partly explains the reason why a gannet performing a high plunge diving in nature enters water with a large oblique angle from the perspective of impact mechanics. The investigation on the plunge-diving behavior in this paper will inspire and promote the development of a biomimetic amphibious robot that transits from air to water with the plunge-diving mode.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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