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TECHNICAL PAPERS

Design Methodology for Biomimetic Propulsion of Miniature Swimming Robots

[+] Author and Article Information
Bahareh Behkam

Mechanical Engineering Department, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213behkam@cmu.edu

Metin Sitti

Mechanical Engineering Department, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213sitti@cmu.edu

J. Dyn. Sys., Meas., Control 128(1), 36-43 (Sep 23, 2005) (8 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2171439 History: Received April 04, 2005; Revised September 23, 2005

Miniature and energy-efficient propulsion systems hold the key to maturing the technology of swimming microrobots. In this paper, two new methods of propulsion inspired by the motility mechanism of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms are proposed. Hydrodynamic models for each of the two methods are developed, and the optimized design parameters for each of the two propulsion modes are demonstrated. To validate the theoretical result for the prokaryotic flagellar motion, a scaled-up prototype of the robot is fabricated and tested in silicone oil, using the Buckingham PI theorem for scaling. The proposed propulsion methods are appropriate for the swimming robots that are intended to swim in low-velocity fluids.

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Copyright © 2006 by American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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Figures

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Figure 1

Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) image of E. coli(×3515) image courtesy of Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

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Figure 2

Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image of green alga (×600) image courtesy of Dennis Kunkel Microscopy, Inc.

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Figure 3

Schematic of the microscale swimming robot with helical wave propulsion

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Figure 4

Schematic of the microscale swimming robot with planar wave propulsion

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Figure 5

Efficiency of the helical wave propulsion as a function of nondimensionalized geometrical parameters

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Figure 6

Nondimensionalized velocity of the robot with the helical wave propulsion method as a function of nondimensionalized geometrical parameters

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Figure 7

Efficiency of the planar wave propulsion as a function of nondimensionalized geometrical parameters

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Figure 8

Nondimensionalized velocity of the robot with planar wave propulsion as a function of nondimensionalized geometrical parameters

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Figure 9

Experimental setup for helical wave propulsive force measurement

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Figure 10

Experimental result for the trust force generated by helical wave propulsion of the scaled-up prototype in silicone oil

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