[2018-Vol.15-Issue 3]Propulsion Principles of Water Striders in Sculling Forward through Shadow Method
Time: 2018-05-12 21:37  Click:555
Journal of Bionic Engineering
Volume 15, Issue 3, May 2018, Pages 516-525.
Hongyu Lu1, Yelong Zheng2, Wei Yin3, Dashuai Tao1, Noshir Pesika4, Yonggang Meng1, Yu Tian1*
1. State Key Laboratory of Tribology, Tsinghua University, Beijing 100084, China
2. State Key Laboratory of Precision Measuring Technology and Instrument, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, China
3. Lubrication and Friction Testing Center, Tianjin Research Institute for Advanced Equipment, Tsinghua University, Tianjin 300300, China
4. Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering Department, Tulane University, New Orleans 70112, USA
Abstract  Semi-aquatic arthropods skate on water surfaces with synergetic actions of their legs. The sculling forward locomotion of water striders was observed and analyzed in situ to understand and reproduce the abovementioned feature. The bright–edged elliptical shadows of the six legs of a water strider were recorded to derive the supporting force distributions on legs. The propulsion principles of water striders were quantitatively disclosed. A typical sculling forward process was accomplished within approximately 0.15 s. Water striders lifted their heads slightly and supported their weight mainly by the two driving legs to increase the propulsion force and reduce the water resistance during the process. The normalized thrust–area ratio (defined as the ratio of the propulsion force to the projected area) was usually lower than 0.4 after sculling for approximately 0.08 s. The entire normal supporting force remained nearly constant during a stroke to reduce the mass center fluctuation in the normal direction. In addition, water striders could easily control the locomotion direction and speed through the light swinging of the two hind legs as rudders. These sculling principles might inspire sophisticated biomimetic wa-ter-walking robots with high propulsion efficiency in the future.
Key words: shadow method      water strider      sculling forward locomotion      propulsion principle     

Full text is available at  https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s42235-018-0042-8

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