Ionic polymer metal composites (IPMC) are a new class of smart materials that have attractive characteristics such as muscle like softness, low voltage and power consumption, and good performance in aqueous environments. Thus, IPMC’s provide promising application for biomimetic fish like propulsion systems. In this paper, we design and analyze IPMC underwater propulsor inspired from swimming of Labriform fishes. Different fish species in nature are source of inspiration for different biomimetic flapping IPMC fin design. Here, three fish species with high performance flapping pectoral fin locomotion is chosen and performance analysis of each fin design is done to discover the better configurations for engineering applications. In order to describe the behavior of an active IPMC fin actuator in water, a complex hydrodynamic function is used and structural model of the IPMC fin is obtained by modifying the classical dynamic equation for a slender beam. A quasi-steady blade element model that accounts for unsteady phenomena such as added mass effects, dynamic stall, and the cumulative Wagner effect is used to estimate the hydrodynamic performance of the flapping rectangular shape fin. Dynamic characteristics of IPMC actuated flapping fins having the same size as the actual fins of three different fish species, Gomphosus varius, Scarus frenatus and Sthethojulis trilineata, are analyzed with numerical simulations. Finally, a comparative study is performed to analyze the performance of three different biomimetic IPMC flapping pectoral fins.

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