Dr. Francesco Giorgio-Serchi is currently appointed as a Chancellor Fellow (Lecturer) in Robotics and Autonomous Systems at the Institute for Integrated Micro and Nano System and the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics. Previously, he was a Research Fellow at the BioRobotics Institute of the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna and at the Fluid-Structure-Interaction group of the University of Southampton. He holds an MSc from the University of Pisa in Marine Technologies and a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics from the Centre for CFD of the University of Leeds. His work entails the coupled fluid-solid interaction of deformable bodies with the purpose of designing bioinspired aquatic vehicles with enhanced maneuverability and efficiency.
Squids do it better: how elasticity increases efficiency in cephalopods propulsion
Cephalopods are quintessential soft aquatic organisms. However, while sporting extreme maneuverability, squids and octopuses have never been regarded as efficient swimmers, casting doubt on their aptness as source of inspiration for the design of soft underwater robots. Nonetheless, it is hard to reconcile their supposed low swimming efficiency with their evolutionary success, which has left their morphology almost untouched across geological time-scales. This contradiction reveals that we are still far from a comprehensive understanding of the propulsive dynamics of cephalopods. I will present analysis on the coupled fluid-solid interplay taking place within and around the body of an elastic, pulsed-jetting body which resembles a squid in sustained locomotion. Using simple analytical arguments, I will show how current estimates of the propulsive efficiency of these organisms have been neglecting two critical terms and how these can be incorporated in the design and control of soft underwater robots to dramatically enhance their propulsive performances.