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Optimal vortex formation as a unifying principle in biological propulsion. (English) Zbl 1157.76062
Davis, Stephen H. (ed.) et al., Annual review of fluid mechanics. Vol. 41. Palo Alto, CA: Annual Reviews (ISBN 978-0-8243-0741-7/hbk). Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 41, 17-33 (2009).
Summary: We review the concept of optimal vortex formation and examine its relevance to propulsion in biological and bio-inspired systems, ranging from the human heart to underwater vehicles. By using examples from the existing literature and new analyses, we show that optimal vortex formation can potentially serve as a unifying principle to understand the diversity of solutions used to achieve propulsion in nature. Additionally, optimal vortex formation can provide a framework in which to design engineered propulsions systems that are constrained by pressures unrelated to biology. Finally, we analyze the relationship between optimal vortex formation and previously observed constraints on Strouhal frequency during animal locomotion in air and water. It is proposed that the Strouhal frequency constraint is but one consequence of the process of optimal vortex formation and that others remain to be discovered.
For the entire collection see [Zbl 1155.76006].

76Z10 Biopropulsion in water and in air
92C10 Biomechanics
76-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to fluid mechanics
92-02 Research exposition (monographs, survey articles) pertaining to biology
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