Stability of Passive Locomotion in Periodically-Generated Vortex Wakes

  • Babak G. Oskouei
  • Eva KansoEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the The IMA Volumes in Mathematics and its Applications book series (IMA, volume 155)


The passive locomotion of a body placed in a thrust wake is examined. This work is motivated by a common belief that live and inanimate objects may extract energy from unsteady flows for locomotory advantages. We propose idealized wake models using periodically-generated point vortices to emulate shedding of vortices from an un-modeled moving (thrust) object. We investigate the two-way coupled dynamics of a submerged rigid body with such thrust wakes. In particular, we seek and obtain periodic trajectories where a circular body ‘swims’ passively against the flow of a thrust wake by extracting energy from the ambient vortices. These periodic trajectories are unstable, as indicated by the associated Floquet multipliers. The instabilities are particularly strong for elliptic bodies where rotational effects are at play.

Key words

Body-vortex interactions passive locomotion stability 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aerospace and Mechanical EngineeringUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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