In this work, we numerically studied the steady swimming of a pufferfish driven by the undulating motion of its dorsal, anal and caudal fins. The simulations are based on experimentally measured kinematics. To model the self-propelled fish swimming, a Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) tool was coupled with a Multi-Body-Dynamics (MBD) technique.

It is widely accepted that deformable/flexible or undulating fins are better than rigid fins in terms of propulsion efficiency. To elucidate the underlying mechanism, we established an undulating fins model based on the kinematics of live fish, and conducted a simulation under the same operating conditions as rigid fins. The results presented here agree with this view by showing that the contribution of undulating fins to propulsion efficiency is significantly larger than that of rigid fins.

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