In this study, we seek to understand the feasibility of energy harvesting from the tail beating motion of a fish through active compliant materials. Specifically, we analyze energy harvesting from the undulations of a biomimetic fish tail hosting ionic polymer metal composites (IPMCs). The design of the biomimetic tail is specifically inspired by the morphology of the heterocercal tail of thresher sharks. We propose a modeling framework for the underwater vibration of the biomimetic tail, wherein the tail is assimilated to a cantilever beam with rectangular cross section. We focus on base excitation in the form of a superimposed rotation about a fixed axis and we consider the regime of moderately large–amplitude vibrations. In this context, the effect of the encompassing fluid is described through a nonlinear hydrodynamic function. The feasibility of harvesting energy from an IPMC attached to the vibrating structure is assessed and modeled via an electromechanical framework. Experiments are performed to validate the theoretical expectations on energy harvesting from the biomimetic tail.

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