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The University of Southampton

Research project: Fast escape underwater vehicle inspired by the octopus jetting

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Burst speed underwater vehicle inspired by the shape changing of cephalopods, which are the fastest marine invertebrates.

Cephalopods such as the octopus and squid are by far the fastest marine invertebrates, achieving incredible bursts of speed using extremely simple jetting propulsion.

Simulated flow around the deforming jet propelled vehicle as it passes distance markers. No separation or slow down is experienced due to the shrinking boundaries
Flow around jet propelled vehicle

In this project, we constructed and tested an octopus-inspired rocket that powers an ultra-fast, jet-propelled escape. The body of the vehicle has no moving parts, being constructed of a 3D printed frame and a stretched elastic membrane. The resulting vehicle entirely eliminates flow separation drag forces and clever use of added mass forces by first hyper-inflating and then rapidly deflating, reaching top speeds of 15 body lengths per second.

Associated research themes

Fluid dynamics

Related research groups

Maritime Engineering

Key Publications

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