Development of a spined underwater biomimetic vehicle with SMA actuators Conference Paper uri icon


  • We present here our progress towards the development of a type of biomimetic active hydrofoil that utilizes Shape Memory Alloy (SMA) actuator technology. The actuation is presently applied to the control of hydrodynamic forces and moments, including thrust generation, on a 2-D hydrofoil. The SMA actuation elements are two sets of thin wires (0.015 inches to 0.027 inches) on either side of an elastomer element that provides the main structural support. Controlled heating and cooling of the two wire sets generates bi-directional bending of the elastomer, which in turn deflects (for quasi-static control) or oscillates (for thrust generation) the trailing edge of the hydrofoil. The aquatic environment of the hydrofoil lends itself to cooling schemes that utilize the excellent heat transfer properties of water. The SMA actuator was able to deflect the trailing edge by +/-5 at rates as high as 2 Hz. FEM modeling of hydrofoil response to thermoelectric heating has been carried out using a thermomechanical constitutive model for SMAs. FEM predictions are compared with experimental measurements.

name of conference

  • 1999 Symposium on Smart Structures and Materials

published proceedings

  • SPIE Proceedings

author list (cited authors)

  • Rediniotis, O. K., Lagoudas, D. C., Garner, L. J., & Wilson, L. N.

editor list (cited editors)

  • Wereley, N. M.

publication date

  • January 1, 1999 11:11 AM