MEchanics GAthering -MEGA- Seminar: Stable self-organization for schooling swimmers through hydrodynamic interactions


Event details

Date 30.09.2021 16:1517:30  
Speaker Melike Kurt (Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Group, University of Southampton)
Location Online
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English
Abstract Schooling fish are one of nature’s most ubiquitous and mesmerizing examples with a myriad of hypotheses related to their functions. Freely swimming fish or fish-like swimmers experience forces, pushing and pulling them in multiple directions, that can directly affect the schooling order purely through hydrodynamic interactions. Here, we will examine the effect of these flow-mediated forces on schooling order through experiments using pure-pitching foils, as a simple representation of schooling swimmers. First, experiments and computations for a foil in ground effect (interacting with the ground) have been conducted. It is discovered that there is indeed an equilibrium altitude where the foil experiences zero lift. Second, the forces produced by two hydrofoils in the interaction plane are examined at an out-of-phase synchrony. The foils are found to be attracted into a stable equilibrium position in a side-by-side arrangement where the relative force experienced by individual foils is zero. Additionally, the schooling swimmers experience a collective thrust and efficiency increase up to 100% and 40%, respectively, around this equilibrium position, whereas staggered arrangements yield thrust and efficiency gains up to 94% and 87%, respectively, compared to two hydrofoils in isolation. These newfound schooling performance and stability characteristics suggest that fluid-mediated equilibria may play a role in the control strategies of schooling fish and fish-inspired robots.

Bio Melike Kurt is a postdoctoral fellow in the Aerodynamics and Flight Mechanics Group at the University of Southampton. At the intersection of fluid mechanics and biology, her research interests are related to bio-inspired engineering and fluid-structure interactions. She has specific interests in unsteady fluid mechanics, biological flying and swimming, multiple-body flow interactions, and vortex dynamics.

Melike Kurt grew up in Bursa, Turkey, and relocated to Istanbul to attend to Istanbul Technical University where she received a B.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering (2011). Promptly after, she started her masters studies in Bogazici University where she received her M.Sc. degree in Mechanical Engineering (2014). Here, her thesis was selected for the Best M.Sc. Thesis award in the Faculty of Engineering. After the completion of her masters studies, she joined the Unsteady Flow Interactions Lab at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, USA, receiving her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering in 2020. Her dissertation, exploring multiple body flow interactions and energetics based on propulsion in fish schools, was selected for the Outstanding Dissertation Award by Lehigh University Mechanical Engineering Department.

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • MEGA.Seminar Organizing Committee


Solids Structures Fluids