Hydrodynamic schooling of flapping swimmers

Alexander D. Becker, Hassan Masoud, Joel W. Newbolt, Michael Shelley, Leif Ristroph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Fish schools and bird flocks are fascinating examples of collective behaviours in which many individuals generate and interact with complex flows. Motivated by animal groups on the move, here we explore how the locomotion of many bodies emerges from their flow-mediated interactions. Through experiments and simulations of arrays of flapping wings that propel within a collective wake, we discover distinct modes characterized by the group swimming speed and the spatial phase shift between trajectories of neighbouring wings. For identical flapping motions, slow and fast modes coexist and correspond to constructive and destructive wing-wake interactions. Simulations show that swimming in a group can enhance speed and save power, and we capture the key phenomena in a mathematical model based on memory or the storage and recollection of information in the flow field. These results also show that fluid dynamic interactions alone are sufficient to generate coherent collective locomotion, and thus might suggest new ways to characterize the role of flows in animal groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number8514
JournalNature Communications
Volume6
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 6 2015

Fingerprint

flapping
Hydrodynamics
Locomotion
hydrodynamics
wings
locomotion
Information Storage and Retrieval
Animals
wakes
Birds
Flow interactions
animals
schools (fish)
Fishes
Theoretical Models
Fluid dynamics
Phase shift
Fish
birds
Flow fields

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Becker, A. D., Masoud, H., Newbolt, J. W., Shelley, M., & Ristroph, L. (2015). Hydrodynamic schooling of flapping swimmers. Nature Communications, 6, [8514]. https://doi.org/10.1038/ncomms9514

Hydrodynamic schooling of flapping swimmers. / Becker, Alexander D.; Masoud, Hassan; Newbolt, Joel W.; Shelley, Michael; Ristroph, Leif.

In: Nature Communications, Vol. 6, 8514, 06.10.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Becker, Alexander D. ; Masoud, Hassan ; Newbolt, Joel W. ; Shelley, Michael ; Ristroph, Leif. / Hydrodynamic schooling of flapping swimmers. In: Nature Communications. 2015 ; Vol. 6.
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