Pulsed-jet propulsion of a squid-inspired swimmer at high Reynolds number

Yang Luo, Qing Xiao, Qiang Zhu, Guang Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


An inflation-deflation propulsion system inspired by the jet propulsion mechanism of squids and other cephalopods is proposed. The two-dimensional squid-like swimmer has a flexible mantle body with a pressure chamber and a nozzle that serves as the inlet and outlet of water. The fluid-structure interaction simulation results indicate that larger mean thrust production and higher efficiency can be achieved in high Reynolds number scenarios compared with the cases in laminar flow. The improved performance at high Reynolds number is attributed to stronger jet-induced vortices and highly suppressed external body vortices, which are associated with drag force. Optimal efficiency is reached when the jet vortices start to dominate the surrounding flow. The mechanism of symmetry-breaking instability under the turbulent flow condition is found to be different from that previously reported in laminar flow. Specifically, this instability in turbulent flow stems from irregular internal body vortices, which cause symmetry breaking in the wake. A higher Reynolds number or smaller nozzle size would accelerate the formation of this symmetry-breaking instability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111901
JournalPhysics of Fluids
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2020


  • squid
  • cephalopods
  • jet propulsion
  • artificial underwater vehicles
  • biological locomotion


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