The 18th Australasian Fluid Mechanics Conference

What’s New

Fluidity of Stingrays: The Future of Submarines

Physics can be tough. A lot of its terms, laws, and topics are quite hard to comprehend for an average, reasonable person. Areas in physics are not just only vague concepts but most of all complicated ones. Nonetheless, little do people know that this complex science is actually the living science within us and our activities. In fact, a lot of our day to day work is physics in action.

One of the most difficult areas of physics is fluid mechanics. Those equations, laws, and formulas are not just head breaking but also quite a pain for one to comprehend. A lot of people would even question what is the purpose of studying the various movements of a fluid. In addition, it should be noted that fluid is not just any liquid but a material with a lot of unique characteristics.  However, this complex field can be better understood through simple demonstrations. In addition, it is believed that when a complicated topic is explained in a realistic point of view, more and more can understand it. And, little do they know that they are already learning complex fluid mechanics.

In fact, one of the best proofs of this mutualism and nearness to our lives is the application of the different natural movements onto the technologies that people create. And, this was recently proven when researchers were able to link the stingray’s movement to the enhancement of submarines.

These aquatics animals swim through water in a very easy manner. And, it is believed that stingrays move in a way that their flow is governed by the different laws and concepts of fluid mechanics resulting to a quite easy mechanism. Through such observations made by researchers from the University of Buffalo and Harvard University, they have realized that these types of movements are very much applicable to underwater vehicles. Thanks to both physics and natural occurrences, developers have seen ways to link the movement of the animal to a better design of underwater technologies. These students were able to see that their movements can make a more agile and fuel-efficient unmanned machines which are likewise beneficial for underwater explorations and studies.

Through improving such vessels, science can be better improved. These vehicles will be able to make marine studies more efficiently especially in terms of covering the unexplored areas of ocean depths. Not only that, with improved submarines, people can expect that these technologies can be able to serve as clean up and rescue forerunners.

But, how can a stingray’s movement be adapted to the machine’s performance? Simple! Most of the aquatic animals specifically fish utilizes their tails in order to swim. As they wag them, they move. However, when it comes to stingrays, they have a quite unique methodology. They swim like a flag in the wind. With such difference, movement is made faster and more efficient. Through proper computational fluid dynamics, algorithms, and other formulas to solve the discrepancies in fluid flow of water and surrounding areas of the object, they are able to better understand underwater locomotion in a more precise way.