A) Fabrication of the pectoral fin: adhering bone and cartilage to support structure; B) Fabricated artificial harbor porpoise whale fin with dimensions
The 3D printed model was designed and characterized using coiled polymer actuators (CPAs) to record force and displacement at different temperatures and configurations.
An array of thermally driven coiled polymer actuators (CPA) fabricated from nylon and heated with Nichrome were added to the fabricated pectoral fin and used as artificial muscles. The goal was to learn from how the Harbor Porpoise fin controls various types of movement and situations, and how these can be applied to designing transition periods for underwater and above water vehicles. The resulting drag reduction is then significant for cutting down on fuel consumption on marine ships, saving money and reducing pollutants.
All of these examples demonstrate the value of biomimicry for characterizing unique natural phenomena and translating it into data and models for informing new product designs and improvements. By adapting what has worked in nature to optimize structures and materials, these researchers open the potential for better, more efficient products tailored to their particular environments.