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Biomimetics, Volume 4, Issue 4 (December 2019) – 14 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Microtubules (MTs) are highly dynamic polymers distributed in the cytoplasm of a biological cell. [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Application of Bionic Technologies on the Fracturing Plug
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040078 - 05 Dec 2019
Viewed by 223
Abstract
The dissolvable bridge plug is one of the most important tools for multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in the field of oil/gas development. The plug provides zonal isolation to realize staged stimulation and, after fracturing, the plug is fully dissolved in produced liquids. A bionic [...] Read more.
The dissolvable bridge plug is one of the most important tools for multi-stage hydraulic fracturing in the field of oil/gas development. The plug provides zonal isolation to realize staged stimulation and, after fracturing, the plug is fully dissolved in produced liquids. A bionic surface was introduced to improve the performance of the plug. Surface dimples in the micron dimension were prepared on the dissolvable materials of the plug. The experimental results showed that the surface dimples changed the hydrophilic and hydrophobic properties of the dissolvable materials. The dissolution rate has a great relation with the parameters of the dimples and can be controlled by choosing the dimples’ parameters to some degree. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICBE2019)
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Open AccessArticle
On the Fluid Dynamical Effects of Synchronization in Side-by-Side Swimmers
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 77; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040077 - 05 Dec 2019
Viewed by 397
Abstract
In-phase and anti-phase synchronization of neighboring swimmers is examined experimentally using two self-propelled independent flexible foils swimming side-by-side in a water tank. The foils are actuated by pitching oscillations at one extremity—the head of the swimmers—and the flow engendered by their undulations is [...] Read more.
In-phase and anti-phase synchronization of neighboring swimmers is examined experimentally using two self-propelled independent flexible foils swimming side-by-side in a water tank. The foils are actuated by pitching oscillations at one extremity—the head of the swimmers—and the flow engendered by their undulations is analyzed using two-dimensional particle image velocimetry in their frontal symmetry plane. Following recent observations on the behavior of real fish, we focus on the comparison between in-phase and anti-phase actuation by fixing all other geometric and kinematic parameters. We show that swimming with a neighbor is beneficial for both synchronizations tested, as compared to swimming alone, with an advantage for the anti-phase synchronization. We show that the advantage of anti-phase synchronization in terms of swimming performance for the two-foil “school” results from the emergence of a periodic coherent jet between the two swimmers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid Dynamic Interactions in Biological and Bioinspired Propulsion)
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Open AccessArticle
Design, Manufacturing, and Testing of a New Concept for a Morphing Leading Edge using a Subsonic Blow Down Wind Tunnel
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 76; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040076 - 02 Dec 2019
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Abstract
This paper presents the design and wind tunnel test results of a wing including a morphing leading edge for a medium unmanned aerial vehicle with a maximum wingspan of 5 m. The design of the morphing leading edge system is part of research [...] Read more.
This paper presents the design and wind tunnel test results of a wing including a morphing leading edge for a medium unmanned aerial vehicle with a maximum wingspan of 5 m. The design of the morphing leading edge system is part of research on the design of a morphing camber system. The concept presented here has the advantage of being simple to manufacture (wooden construction) and light for the structure of the wing (compliance mechanism). The morphing leading edge prototype demonstrates the possibility of modifying the stall angle of the wing. In addition, the modification of the stall angle is performed without affecting the slope of the lift coefficient. This prototype is designed to validate the functionality of the deformation method applied to the leading edge of the wing. The mechanism can be further optimized in terms of shape and material to obtain a greater deformation of the leading edge, and, thus, to have a higher impact on the increase of the stall angle than the first prototype of the morphing leading edge presented in this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morphing Aircraft Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Biomimetic Groundwork for Thermal Exchange Structures Inspired by Plant Leaf Design
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 75; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040075 - 27 Nov 2019
Viewed by 333
Abstract
Geometry is a determining factor for thermal performance in both biological and technical systems. While biology has inspired thermal design before, biomimetic translation of leaf morphology into structural aspects of heat exchangers remains largely unaddressed. One determinant of plant thermal endurance against environmental [...] Read more.
Geometry is a determining factor for thermal performance in both biological and technical systems. While biology has inspired thermal design before, biomimetic translation of leaf morphology into structural aspects of heat exchangers remains largely unaddressed. One determinant of plant thermal endurance against environmental exposure is leaf shape, which modulates the leaf boundary layer, transpiration, evaporative cooling, and convective exchange. Here, we lay the research groundwork for the extraction of design principles from leaf shape relations to heat and mass transfer. Leaf role models were identified from an extensive literature review on environmentally sensitive morphology patterns and shape-dependent exchange. Addressing canopy sun–shade dimorphism, sun leaves collected from multiple oak species exceeded significantly in margin extension and shape dissection. Abstracted geometries (i.e., elongated; with finely toothed edges; with few large-scale teeth) were explored with paper models of the same surface area in a controlled environment of minimal airflow, which is more likely to induce leaf thermal stress. For two model characteristic dimensions, evaporation rates were significantly faster for the dissected geometries. Shape-driven transfer enhancements were higher for the smaller models, and finely toothed edges reached local cooling up to 10 °C below air temperature. This investigation breaks new ground for solution-based biomimetics to inform the design of evaporation-assisted and passively enhanced thermal systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICBE2019)
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Open AccessArticle
A Case Study of Adding Proactivity in Indoor Social Robots Using Belief–Desire–Intention (BDI) Model
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040074 - 20 Nov 2019
Viewed by 280
Abstract
The rise of robots and robotics has proved to be a benefaction to humankind in different aspects. Robotics evolved from a simple button, has seen massive development over the years. Consequently, it has become an integral part of human life as robots are [...] Read more.
The rise of robots and robotics has proved to be a benefaction to humankind in different aspects. Robotics evolved from a simple button, has seen massive development over the years. Consequently, it has become an integral part of human life as robots are used for a wide range of applications ranging from indoor uses to interplanetary missions. Recently, the use of social robots, in commercial indoor spaces to offer help or social interaction with people, has been quite popular. As such, taking the increasing use of social robots into consideration, many works have been carried out to develop the robots to make them capable of acting like humans. The notion behind this development is the need for robots to offer services without being asked. Social robots should think more like humans and suggest possible and suitable actions by analyzing the environment where they are. Belief–desire–intention (BDI) is one of the most popular models for developing rational agents based on how humans act based on the information derived from an environment. As such, this work defines a foundation architecture to integrate a BDI framework into a social robot to add “act like a human” feature for proactive behaviors. The work validates the proposed architecture by developing a vision-based proactive action using the PROFETA BDI framework in an indoor social robot, Waldo, operated by the robot operating system (ROS). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Findings of Case-Study Analysis: System-Level Biomimicry in Built-Environment Design
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 73; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040073 - 01 Nov 2019
Viewed by 322
Abstract
Complex systems challenges like those facing 21st-century humanity, require system-level solutions that avoid siloed or unnecessarily narrow responses. System-level biomimicry aims to identify and adopt design approaches that have been developed and refined within ecosystems over 3.8 billion years of evolution. While not [...] Read more.
Complex systems challenges like those facing 21st-century humanity, require system-level solutions that avoid siloed or unnecessarily narrow responses. System-level biomimicry aims to identify and adopt design approaches that have been developed and refined within ecosystems over 3.8 billion years of evolution. While not new, system-level biomimetic solutions have been less widely applied in urban design than the ‘form’ and ‘process’ level counterparts. This paper explores insights from a selection of system-level case studies in the built environment, using meta-analysis to investigate common challenges and priorities from these projects to support knowledge-sharing and continued development in the field. Using a grounded research approach, common themes are distilled, and findings presented regarding success and barriers to implementation and scaling. Considering the findings, and drawing on complex adaptive systems theory, the paper posits opportunities to facilitate broader implementation and mainstreaming of system-level biomimetic design approaches in the built environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomimicry and Sustainable Urban Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Mixed Flow Fans with Bio-Inspired Grooves
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 72; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040072 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Mixed flow fan is a kind of widely used turbomachine, which has faced problems of further performance improvement in traditional design methods in recent decades. Inspired by the microgrooves such as riblets and denticles on bird feathers and shark skins, we here propose [...] Read more.
Mixed flow fan is a kind of widely used turbomachine, which has faced problems of further performance improvement in traditional design methods in recent decades. Inspired by the microgrooves such as riblets and denticles on bird feathers and shark skins, we here propose biomimetic designs of various blades with the bio-inspired grooves, aiming at the improvement of the aeroacoustic performance. Based on a systematic study with computational fluid dynamic analyses, we found that these designs had the potential in noise suppression even with macroscopic grooves. Our best design can suppress turbulence kinetic energy by approximately 38% at the blade leading edge with aerodynamic efficiency loss of only 0.3 percentage points. This improvement is achieved by passive flow control. The vortical structures are changed in a favorable way at the leading edge due to the grooves. We believe that these biomimetic designs could provide a promising future of enhancing the performance of mixed flow fans by making grooves of ideal flow passages on the suction faces of blades in accord with the theory of pump design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICBE2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Mimicking Sub-Structures Self-Organization in Microtubules
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040071 - 18 Oct 2019
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Microtubules (MTs) are highly dynamic polymers distributed in the cytoplasm of a biological cell. Alpha and beta globular proteins constituting the heterodimer building blocks combine to form these tubules through polymerization, controlled by the concentration of Guanosine-triphosphate (GTPs) and other Microtubule Associated Proteins [...] Read more.
Microtubules (MTs) are highly dynamic polymers distributed in the cytoplasm of a biological cell. Alpha and beta globular proteins constituting the heterodimer building blocks combine to form these tubules through polymerization, controlled by the concentration of Guanosine-triphosphate (GTPs) and other Microtubule Associated Proteins (MAPs). MTs play a crucial role in many intracellular processes, predominantly in mitosis, organelle transport and cell locomotion. Current research in this area is focused on understanding the exclusive behaviors of self-organization and their association with different MAPs through organized laboratory experiments. However, the intriguing intelligence behind these tiny machines resulting in complex self-organizing structures is mostly unexplored. In this study, we propose a novel swarm engineering framework in modeling rules for these systems, by combining the principles of design with swarm intelligence. The proposed framework was simulated on a game engine and these simulations demonstrated self-organization of rings and protofilaments in MTs. Analytics from these simulations assisted in understanding the influence of GTPs on protofilament formation. Also, results showed that the population density of GTPs rather than their bonding probabilities played a crucial role in polymerization in forming microtubule substructures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study on the Heat Reduction Effect of Biomimetic Unidirectional Transporting Channels Inspired by Nepenthes alata
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 70; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040070 - 15 Oct 2019
Viewed by 329
Abstract
Heat control has been a momentous problem in engineering areas which include manufacturing, aeronautics, microchips and so forth for a considerable amount of time. The control of material for thermal deformation, effective cooling are the key components of the aero crafts and compactly [...] Read more.
Heat control has been a momentous problem in engineering areas which include manufacturing, aeronautics, microchips and so forth for a considerable amount of time. The control of material for thermal deformation, effective cooling are the key components of the aero crafts and compactly laid out microchips are urgently needed for improvement. In a micro-scale, researchers are mainly focused on the mechanism, design, improvement and heat transfer of straight channels other than developing other types of channels. A previous study on the carnivorous plant, Nepenthes alata, indicates that the water can be transported continuously and directionally on the surface of the rim of the pitcher because of its multi-scale structures. Meanwhile, the transporting speed is much higher than what was thought previously. Inspired by this unique phenomenon, the heat management ability of this biological micro channel is investigated in this research. Firstly, based on existing studies, the features of the biological channels are extracted. Then, the unidirectional channels are designed and fabricated by elliptical vibration cutting accordingly. The experimental platform for thermal control was established consequently. Both bio-inspired and straight triangular channels of the same depth and width were set for comparison. Through the comparative experiments, it is concluded preliminarily that the critical point of heat transfer performance of the two channels exists, and the biomimetic structure can improve and strengthen the cooling effects at a large flow rate because of the unique geometric structure. The temperature reduction of the bio-inspired channels can be increased by up to 84 percent compared with straight channels in a single experiment when heated up to 150 centigrade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Selected Papers from ICBE2019)
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Open AccessArticle
Effective Exploration Behavior for Chemical-Sensing Robots
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040069 - 12 Oct 2019
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Mobile robots that can effectively detect chemical effluents could be useful in a variety of situations, such as disaster relief or drug sniffing. Such a robot might mimic biological systems that exhibit chemotaxis, which is movement towards or away from a chemical stimulant [...] Read more.
Mobile robots that can effectively detect chemical effluents could be useful in a variety of situations, such as disaster relief or drug sniffing. Such a robot might mimic biological systems that exhibit chemotaxis, which is movement towards or away from a chemical stimulant in the environment. Some existing robotic exploration algorithms that mimic chemotaxis suffer from the problems of getting stuck in local maxima and becoming “lost”, or unable to find the chemical if there is no initial detection. We introduce the use of the RapidCell algorithm for mobile robots exploring regions with potentially detectable chemical concentrations. The RapidCell algorithm mimics the biology behind the biased random walk of Escherichia coli (E. coli) bacteria more closely than traditional chemotaxis algorithms by simulating the chemical signaling pathways interior to the cell. For comparison, we implemented a classical chemotaxis controller and a controller based on RapidCell, then tested them in a variety of simulated and real environments (using phototaxis as a surrogate for chemotaxis). We also added simple obstacle avoidance behavior to explore how it affects the success of the algorithms. Both simulations and experiments showed that the RapidCell controller more fully explored the entire region of detectable chemical when compared with the classical controller. If there is no detectable chemical present, the RapidCell controller performs random walk in a much wider range, hence increasing the chance of encountering the chemical. We also simulated an environment with triple effluent to show that the RapidCell controller avoided being captured by the first encountered peak, which is a common issue for the classical controller. Our study demonstrates that mimicking the adapting sensory system of E. coli chemotaxis can help mobile robots to efficiently explore the environment while retaining their sensitivity to the chemical gradient. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Magnetic Elastomers with Smart Variable Elasticity Mimetic to Sea Cucumber
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 68; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040068 - 09 Oct 2019
Viewed by 405
Abstract
A magnetic-responsive elastomer consisting of magnetic elastomer and zinc oxide with a tetrapod shape and long arms was fabricated mimetic to the tissue of sea cucumber in which collagen fibrils are dispersed. Only the part of magnetic elastomer is active to magnetic fields, [...] Read more.
A magnetic-responsive elastomer consisting of magnetic elastomer and zinc oxide with a tetrapod shape and long arms was fabricated mimetic to the tissue of sea cucumber in which collagen fibrils are dispersed. Only the part of magnetic elastomer is active to magnetic fields, zinc oxide plays a role of reinforcement for the chain structure of magnetic particles formed under magnetic fields. The magnetic response of storage modulus for bimodal magnetic elastomers was measured when the magnetic particle was substituted to a nonmagnetic one, while keeping the total volume fraction of both particles. The change in storage modulus obeyed basically a mixing rule. However, a remarkable enhancement was observed at around the substitution ratio of 0.20. In addition, the bimodal magnetic elastomers with tetrapods exhibited apparent change in storage modulus even at regions with a high substitution ratio where monomodal magnetic elastomers consist of only magnetic particles with less response to the magnetic field. This strongly indicates that discontinuous chains of small amounts of magnetic particles were bridged by the nonmagnetic tetrapods. On the contrary, the change in storage modulus for bimodal magnetic elastomers with zinc oxide with irregular shape showed a mixing rule with a substitution ratio below 0.30. However, it decreased significantly at the substitution ratio above it. The structures of bimodal magnetic elastomers with tetrapods and the tissue of sea cucumber with collagen fibrils are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study of Body-Fin Interaction and Vortex Dynamics Generated by a Two Degree-Of-Freedom Fish Model
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 67; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040067 - 08 Oct 2019
Viewed by 446
Abstract
Oscillatory modes of swimming are used by a majority of aquatic swimmers to generate thrust. This work seeks to understand the phenomenological relationship between the body and caudal fin for fast and efficient thunniform swimming. Phase-averaged velocity data was collected and analyzed in [...] Read more.
Oscillatory modes of swimming are used by a majority of aquatic swimmers to generate thrust. This work seeks to understand the phenomenological relationship between the body and caudal fin for fast and efficient thunniform swimming. Phase-averaged velocity data was collected and analyzed in order to understand the effects of body-fin kinematics on the wake behind a two degree-of-freedom fish model. The model is based on the yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) which is known to be both fast and efficient. Velocity data was obtained along the side of the tail and caudal fin region as well as in the wake downstream of the caudal fin. Body-generated vortices were found to be small and have an insignificant effect on the caudal fin wake. The evolution of leading edge vortices formed on the caudal fin varied depending on the body-fin kinematics. The circulation produced at the trailing edge during each half-cycle was found to be relatively insensitive to the freestream velocity, but also varied with body-fin kinematics. Overall, the generation of vorticity in the wake was found to dependent on the trailing edge motion profile and velocity. Even relatively minor deviations from the commonly used model of sinusoidal motion is shown to change the strength and organization of coherent structures in the wake, which have been shown in the literature to be related to performance metrics such as thrust and efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluid Dynamic Interactions in Biological and Bioinspired Propulsion)
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Open AccessArticle
Kinetic Study of CO2 Hydration by Small-Molecule Catalysts with A Second Coordination Sphere that Mimic the Effect of the Thr-199 Residue of Carbonic Anhydrase
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 66; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040066 - 01 Oct 2019
Viewed by 324
Abstract
Zinc complexes were synthesized as catalysts that mimic the ability of carbonic anhydrase (CA) for the CO2 hydration reaction (H2O + CO2 → H+ + HCO3). For these complexes, a tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (TPA) ligand mimicking only [...] Read more.
Zinc complexes were synthesized as catalysts that mimic the ability of carbonic anhydrase (CA) for the CO2 hydration reaction (H2O + CO2 → H+ + HCO3). For these complexes, a tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (TPA) ligand mimicking only the active site, and a 6-((bis(pyridin-2-ylmethyl)amino)methyl)pyridin-2-ol (TPA-OH) ligand mimicking the hydrogen-bonding network of the secondary coordination sphere of CA were used. Potentiometric pH titration was used to determine the deprotonation ability of the Zn complexes, and their pKa values were found to be 8.0 and 6.8, respectively. Stopped-flow spectrophotometry was used to confirm the CO2 hydration rate. The rate constants were measured to be 648.4 and 730.6 M−1s−1, respectively. The low pKa value was attributed to the hydrogen-bonding network of the secondary coordination sphere of the catalyst that mimics the behavior of CA, and this was found to increase the CO2 hydration rate of the catalyst. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fuzzy Logic-Based Control for a Morphing Wing Tip Actuation System: Design, Numerical Simulation, and Wind Tunnel Experimental Testing
Biomimetics 2019, 4(4), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics4040065 - 21 Sep 2019
Viewed by 483
Abstract
The paper presents the design, numerical simulation, and wind tunnel experimental testing of a fuzzy logic-based control system for a new morphing wing actuation system equipped with Brushless DC (BLDC) motors, under the framework of an international project between Canada and Italy. Morphing [...] Read more.
The paper presents the design, numerical simulation, and wind tunnel experimental testing of a fuzzy logic-based control system for a new morphing wing actuation system equipped with Brushless DC (BLDC) motors, under the framework of an international project between Canada and Italy. Morphing wing is a prime concern of the aviation industry and, due to the promising results, it can improve fuel optimization. In this idea, a major international morphing wing project has been carried out by our university team from Canada, in collaboration with industrial, research, and university entities from our country, but also from Italy, by using a full-scaled portion of a real aircraft wing equipped with an aileron. The target was to conceive, manufacture, and test an experimental wing model able to be morphed in a controlled manner and to provide in this way an extension of the laminar airflow region over its upper surface, producing a drag reduction with direct impact on the fuel consumption economy. The work presented in the paper aims to describe how the experimental model has been developed, controlled, and tested, to prove the feasibility of the morphing wing technology for the next generation of aircraft. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Morphing Aircraft Systems)
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