The ability to change the spatial distribution of a compliant foil’s flexural rigidity can enhance the foil’s swimming performance capabilities but pose challenges to neural-based control of these types of foils. The same property that makes these foil’s effective propulsors also makes them challenging to control with a neural oscillator, namely the variation in the mechanical properties will cause the amplitude and phase of the sensory feedback signal to vary depending upon the placement of the sensor. In this study we investigate the effect of sensor placement on the entrainment characteristics of a coupled-system consisting of a neural oscillator driving a series of compliant foils with spanwise flexibility (i.e. spatially varying mechanical properties in the dorsal-ventral direction). We find that acquiring sensory feedback from the foil’s stiff region produces a broader range of frequencies over which entrainment occurs compared to acquiring feedback from the compliant region of a foil. Additionally, we characterize the thrust and lift forces generated by spanwise foils as a function of the foil’s flapping frequency and flexural rigidity.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.