Modeling and Propulsion Methods of Underwater Snake Robots
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In this paper we consider underwater snake robots (USRs) that may be equipped with additional added effectors along their body, including caudal, dorsal and pectoral fins, tunnel thrusters and/or a stern propeller. We propose a mathematical model for USRs swimming in a 2D plane, which includes the extra propulsion forces acting on each link from the added effectors. The resulting model is in closed form, making it well-suited for control design and analysis. We then consider the particular case when fins are added to one or more links to provide lift forces. We develop a quasi-static model for an oscillating and rotating foil, which is then combined with the model of the USR to provide a model of an USR with one or more fins along its body. This makes it possible to make a simulation-based comparison of the USR energy efficiency with and without fins. Simulation results presented in this paper show that there is a significant improvement in propulsion efficiency for the USR with a caudal (tail) fin compared to the results obtained for the USR without a caudal fin.