Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp 418–428 | Cite as

A flexible fin with bio-inspired stiffness profile and geometry

  • T. SalumäeEmail author
  • M. Kruusmaa


Biological evidence suggests that fish use mostly anterior muscles for steady swimming while the caudal part of the body is passive and, acting as a carrier of energy, transfers the momentum to the surrounding water. Inspired by those findings we hypothesize that certain swimming patterns can be achieved without copying the distributed actuation mechanism of fish but rather using a single actuator at the anterior part to create the travelling wave. To test the hypothesis a pitching flexible fin made of silicone rubber and silicone foam was designed by copying the stiffness distribution profile and geometry of a rainbow trout. The kinematics of the fin was compared to that of a steadily swimming trout. Fin’s propulsive wave length and tail-beat amplitude were determined while it was actuated by a single servo motor. Results showed that the propulsive wave length and tail-beat amplitude of a steadily swimming 50 cm rainbow trout was achieved with our biomimetic fin while stimulated using certain actuation parameters (frequency 2.31 Hz and amplitude 6.6 degrees). The study concluded that fish-like swimming can be achieved by mimicking the stiffness and geometry of a rainbow trout and disregarding the details of the actuation mechanism.


biomimetics stiffness profile fin robotics fish 


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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for BioroboticsTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia

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