Undulatory locomotion is a common and powerful strategy used in nature at different biological scales by a broad range of living organisms, from flagellated bacteria to prehistoric snakes, which have overcome the complexity of living in ”flowable” media. By taking inspiration from this evolution-induced strategy, we aim at modelling the locomotion in a granular and viscous environment with the objective to provide more insights for designing robots for soil-like media exploration. Moreover, in contrast to common types of movement, the granular locomotion is still not well understood and is an open and challenging field. We approached this phenomenon with several tools: (i.) numerically, via coupling the Finite Element Method (FEM) with the Discrete Element Method (DEM) using ABAQUS; (ii.) analytically, by employing the Lagrangian formalism to derive the equations of motion of a discrete and continuous system subject to non-conservative forces, and (iii.) experimentally, by creating an ad-hoc set up in order to observe the migration of microfibres used for the treatment of spinal cord injuries. The computational attempts to model the motion in a granular medium involved the simulation of the dynamics of an elastic beam (FEM) surrounded by rigid spherical particles (DEM). A propulsion mechanism was introduced by sinusoidally forcing the beam’s tip normally to the longitudinal axis, while the performance of the locomotion was evaluated by means of a parametric study. Depending on the parameters of the external excitation, after a transient phase, the slender body reached a steady-state with a constant translational velocity. In order to gain physical insights, we studied a simplified version of the previous continuous beam by introducing a discrete multi-bar system. The dynamics of the latter was analytically derived, by taking into account the forces exchanged between the locomotor and the environment, according to the Resistive Force Theory. By numerically solving the equations of motion and evaluating the input energy and dissipations, we were able to define the efficiency and thus provide an effective tool to optimise the locomotion. It is worth mentioning that the two approaches, despite the different physical hypothesis, show a qualitatively and quantitatively good accordance. The numerical and analytical models previously analysed have shown promising results for the interpretation of "ad-hoc" experiments that demonstrate the migration of a microfibre embedded in a spinal cord-like matrix. This migration needs to be avoided, once the regenerative microfibre is implanted in the lesioned spinal cord, for the sake of the patients health.
Analytical and numerical modelling of undulatory locomotion for limbless organisms in granular/viscous media / Rodella, Andrea. - (2020 Aug 26), pp. 1-145.
|Titolo:||Analytical and numerical modelling of undulatory locomotion for limbless organisms in granular/viscous media|
|Anno di pubblicazione:||2020-08-26|
|Struttura:||Dipartimento di Ingegneria Civile Ambientale e Meccanica|
|Corso di dottorato:||Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering|
|Tutor esterno:||Mazzolai, Barbara|
|Tesi in cotutela:||no|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore ICAR/08 - Scienza delle Costruzioni|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.15168/11572_273235|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||08.1 Tesi di dottorato (Doctoral Thesis)|
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|rodella_phdthesis.pdf||Tesi di dottorato (Doctoral Thesis)||Embargo: 22/08/2022|