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How Stingrays Became the Most Efficient Swimmers in Nature
Study shows the hydrodynamic benefits of protruding eyes and mouth in a self-propelled flexible stingray With their compressed bodies and flexible pectoral fins, stingrays have evolved to become one of nature’s most efficient swimmers. Scientists have long wondered about the role played by their protruding eyes and mouths, which one might expect to be hydrodynamic disadvantages. Professor Hyung Jin Sung and his colleagues have discovered how such features on simulated stingrays affect a range of forces involved in propulsion, such as pressure and vorticity. Despite what one might expect, their research team found these protruding features actually help streamline the stingrays. ‘The influence of the 3D protruding eyes and mouth on a self-propelled flexible stingray and its underlying hydrodynamic mechanism are not yet fully understood,” said Professor Sung. “In the present study, the hydrodynamic benefit of protruding eyes and mouth was explored for the first time, revealing their hydrodynamic role.” To illustrate the complex interplay between hydrodynamic forces, the researchers set to work creating a computer model of a self-propelled flexible plate. They clamped the front end of the model and then forced it to mimic the up-and-down harmonic oscillations stingrays use to propel themselves. To re-create the effect of the eyes and mouth on the surrounding water, the team simulated multiple rigid plates on the model. They compared this model to one without eyes and a mouth using a technique called the penalty immersed boundary method. “Managing random fish swimming and isolating the desired purpose of the measurements from numerous factors was difficult,” Sung said. “To overcome these limitations, the penalty immersed boundary method was adopted to find the hydrodynamic benefits of the protruding eyes and mouth.” The team discovered that the eyes and mouth generated a vortex of flow in the forward-backward , which increased negative pressure at the simulated animal’s front, and a side-to-side vortex that increased the pressure difference above and below the stingray. The result was increased thrust and accelerated cruising. Further analysis showed that the eyes and mouth increased overall propulsion efficiency by more than 20.5% and 10.6%, respectively. Researchers hope their work, driven by curiosity, further stokes interest in exploring fluid phenomena in nature. They are hoping to find ways to adapt this for next-generation water vehicle designs based more closely on marine animals. This study was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea and the State Scholar Fund from the China Scholarship Council. -ProfileProfessor Hyung Jin SungDepartment of Mechanical EngineeringKAIST -PublicationHyung Jin Sung, Qian Mao, Ziazhen Zhao, Yingzheng Liu, “Hydrodynamic benefits of protruding eyes and mouth in a self-propelled flexible stingray,” Aug.31, 2021, Physics of Fluids (https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0061287) -News release from the American Institute of Physics, Aug.31, 2021
Slippery When Wet: Fish and Seaweed Inspire Ships to Reduce Fluid Friction
Faster ships could be on the horizon after KAIST scientists develop a slippery surface inspired by fish and seaweed to reduce the hull's drag through the water. Long-distance cargo ships lose a significant amount of energy due to fluid friction. Looking to the drag reduction mechanisms employed by aquatic life can provide inspiration on how to improve efficiency. Fish and seaweed secrete a layer of mucus to create a slippery surface, reducing their friction as they travel through water. A potential way to mimic this is by creating lubricant-infused surfaces covered with cavities. As the cavities are continuously filled with the lubricant, a layer is formed over the surface. Though this method has previously been shown to work, reducing drag by up to 18%, the underlying physics is not fully understood. KAIST researchers in collaboration with a team of researchers from POSTECH conducted simulations of this process to help explain the effects, and their findings were published in the journal Physics of Fluids on September 15. The group looked at the average speed of a cargo ship with realistic material properties and simulated how it behaves under various lubrication setups. Specifically, they monitored the effects of the open area of the lubricant-filled cavities, as well as the thickness of the cavity lids. They found that for larger open areas, the lubricant spreads more than it does with smaller open areas, leading to a slipperier surface. On the other hand, the lid thickness does not have much of an effect on the slip, though a thicker lid does create a thicker lubricant buildup layer. Professor Emeritus Hyung Jin Sung from the KAIST Department of Mechanical Engineering who led this study said, “Our investigation of the hydrodynamics of a lubricant layer and how it results in drag reduction with a slippery surface in a basic configuration has provided significant insight into the benefits of a lubricant-infused surface.” Now that they have worked on optimizing the lubricant secretion design, the authors hope it can be implemented in real-life marine vehicles. “If the present design parameters are adopted, the drag reduction rate will increase significantly,” Professor Sung added. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea. Source: Materials provided by American Institute of Physics. Publication: Kim, Seung Joong, et al. (2020). A lubricant-infused slip surface for drag reduction. Physics of Fluids. Available online at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0018460 Profile: Hyung Jin Sung Professor Emeritus email@example.com http://flow.kaist.ac.kr/index.php Flow Control Lab. (FCL) Department of Mechanical Engineering http://kaist.ac.kr Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Daejeon, Republic of Korea (END)
Scientist of November, Professor Hyung Jin Sung
Professor Hyung Jin Sung from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST received a ‘Science and Technology Award of the Month’ given by the Ministry of ICT and Science and the National Research Foundation of Korea for November 2017. He developed technology that can exquisitely control a micrometer-scaled liquid drop on a dime-sized lab-on-a-chip. With his work, he was recognized for reinforcing research capability on microfluidics. Lab-on-a-chip is an emerging experiment and diagnostic technology in the form of a bio-microchip that facilitates complex and various experiments with only a minimal sample size required. This technology draws a lot of attention not only from medical and pharmaceutical areas, but also the health and environmental field. The biggest problem was that technology for the temperature control of a fluid sample, which is one of the core technologies in microfluidics, has low accuracy. This limit had to be overcome in order to use the lab-on-a-chip more widely. Professor Sung developed an acoustic and thermal method which controls the temperature of a droplet quickly and meticulously by using sound and energy. This is a thermal method that uses heat generated during the absorption of an acoustic wave into viscoelastic substances. It facilitates a rapid heating rate and spatial-temporal temperature control, allowing heating in desired areas. In addition, Professor Sung applied his technology to polymerase chain reactions, which are used to amplify DNA. Through this experiment, he successfully shortened the reaction time from 1-2 hours to only three minutes, making this a groundbreaking achievement. Professor Sung said, “My research is significant for enhancing the applicability of microfluidics. I expect that it will lead to technological innovations in healthcare fields including biochemistry, medical checkups, and new medicine development.”
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