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Award Detail

Awardee:VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY
Doing Business As Name:Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
PD/PI:
  • Michael Philen
  • (540) 231-2548
  • mphilen@vt.edu
Co-PD(s)/co-PI(s):
  • Donald J Leo
  • James Tangorra
  • George V Lauder
  • Harry C Dorn
Award Date:08/10/2009
Estimated Total Award Amount: $ 1,948,373
Funds Obligated to Date: $ 2,160,208
  • FY 2013=$111,959
  • FY 2012=$99,876
  • FY 2009=$1,948,373
Start Date:09/01/2009
End Date:08/31/2014
Transaction Type:Grant
Agency:NSF
Awarding Agency Code:4900
Funding Agency Code:4900
CFDA Number:47.041
Primary Program Source:040100 NSF RESEARCH & RELATED ACTIVIT
Award Title or Description:EFRI-BSBA: Multifunctional materials exhibiting distributed actuation, sensing, and control: Uncovering the hierarchical control of fish for developing smarter materials
Federal Award ID Number:0938043
DUNS ID:003137015
Parent DUNS ID:003137015
Program:EFRI Research Projects
Program Officer:
  • David Fyhrie
  • (703) 292-0000
  • dfyhrie@nsf.gov

Awardee Location

Street:Sponsored Programs 0170
City:BLACKSBURG
State:VA
ZIP:24061-0001
County:Blacksburg
Country:US
Awardee Cong. District:09

Primary Place of Performance

Organization Name:Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Street:Sponsored Programs 0170
City:BLACKSBURG
State:VA
ZIP:24061-0001
County:Blacksburg
Country:US
Cong. District:09

Abstract at Time of Award

EFRI-BSBA: Multifunctional materials exhibiting distributed actuation, sensing, and control: Uncovering the hierarchical control of fish for developing smarter materials PI Name: Michael Philen Institution: Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Proposal No. 0938043 Abstract Fish have a remarkable ability to maneuver in tight places, perform stable high acceleration maneuvers, hover efficiently, and quickly brake as a result of a complex muscular system that comprises more than half of the body mass. Additionally, fish have an extraordinary ability to sense minuscule changes in fluid flow through neuromasts in the lateral line which has been shown to allow fish to detect, localize, and track prey, perform synchronized schooling maneuvers, provide feedback control for efficient locomotion, and form hydrodynamic images of the environment which enable the fish to characterize entities in the vicinity. However, there is still very little understanding of the structure and organization of the hierarchical control systems or of how these actuation and sensing systems are integrated to perform steady and maneuvering locomotor tasks. Furthermore, there has been little effort to transform the biological concepts related to the sensing, actuation, and control of fish into truly bioinspired and biomimetic engineered materials and systems. This research aims to identify and theoretically describe the computational processing performed at the local sensory level for muscle activation and vertebral-stiffness modulation along the tail structure of fish for locomotion. Through a series of interdisplinary engineered experiments, the research seeks to understand (a) the ability of fish to actively modulate the mechanical properties of the tail via muscle recruitment, (b) how swimming gaits are regulated by a hierarchy of control systems that involve the visual, vestibular, and neuromast sensory systems, and (c) how hydrodynamic stimuli to the lateral line neuromasts directly influence the mechanical properties of the tail. An advanced multifunctional material system having distributed actuation and sensing will be developed to serve as a platform for validation and to provide greater understanding of the biology of these systems. The new material system will utilize innovative artificial neuromasts (sensors) and muscles (actuators) that are distributed and arranged as inspired by the configuration found in fish. The artificial neuromast will consist of a cluster of nanowires acting as hairs attached to ionic polymer artificial neurons to create robust, flexible, sensitive, and dynamically responsive sensors for fluid flow detection. The biologically inspired actuation provided by the multifunctional material utilizes a distribution of micron flexible matrix composite actuators in the material system. Through coupling of the biological and engineering experiments of the fish and artificial material system, the interdisplinary team will work together to develop a new framework for observing, identifying, and predicting the sensorimotor behavior of fish for locomotion and stiffness modulation. This research will advance the state-of-the-art development of multifunctional materials, leading to new structures that can intelligently sense and actuate a network of distributed robust sensors and actuators. Pioneer efforts include developing an advanced material system using nanotechnology and advanced composite technology, fabricating hierarchically structured sensors, creating new tools for bio-engineering investigations, and instigating a paradigm shift in the understanding of the organization and structure of the hierarchical control fish use for sensing and maneuvering. Through collaborative efforts, an intellectual framework for education in K-12 classrooms, undergraduate research, and recruitment of minorities will be developed and implemented. One goal of the proposed education plan is to achieve broad impact on students? learning through dissemination of knowledge through K-12 programs at Harvard?s Museum of Natural History. A traveling exhibit will be developed on robotic fish that showcases the biology of aquatic propulsion, new actuator and sensing technologies and how these can be integrated to design a robotic fish. Assessment will establish measurable learning objectives and provide data on learning and improvement of the educational modules.

Publications Produced as a Result of this Research

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Kancharala, A. and Philen, M. "Enhanced hydrodynamic performance of flexible fins using macrofiber composite actuators" Smart Materials and Structures (Accepted), v., 2014, p..

Zhang, Z., Philen, M., Neu, W. "A biologically inspired artificial fish using flexible matrix composite actuators: analysis and experiment" Smart Materials and Structures, v.19, 2011, p..

Esposito, C. J., Tangorra, J. L., Flammang, B. E., and G. V. Lauder. "A robotic fish caudal fin: effects of stiffness and motor program on locomotor performance" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.56.

Zhang, Jianyuan and Bearden, Daniel W and Fuhrer, Tim and Xu, Liaosa and Fu, Wujun and Zuo, Tianming and Dorn, Harry C "Enhanced dipole moments in trimetallic nitride template endohedral metallofullerenes with the pentalene motif" Journal of the American Chemical Society, v.135, 2013, p.3351-3354. doi:0002-7863 

Danos, N. and G. V. Lauder "Challenging zebrafish escape responses by increasing water viscosity" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.1854.

Zhang, Z., Philen, M. "Pressurized Artificial Muscles" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v.23, 2012, p.255.

Flammang, Brooke E and Lauder, George V and Troolin, Daniel R and Strand, Tyson "Volumetric imaging of shark tail hydrodynamics reveals a three-dimensional dual-ring vortex wake structure" Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, v., 2011, p.rspb20110. doi:0962-8452 

Sarles, Stephen A. and Madden, John D. W. and Leo, Donald J. "Hair cell inspired mechanotransduction with a gel-supported, artificial lipid membrane" Soft Matter, v.7, 2011, p.4644-4653. doi:10.1039/c1sm05120b 

Tytell, E. D., Borazjani, I., Sotiropoulos, F., Baker, T. V., Anderson, E. J., and Lauder, G. V. "Disentangling the functional roles of morphology and motion in fish swimming" Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.50, 2010, p.1140.

Lauder, George V and Lim, Jeanette and Shelton, Ryan and Witt, Chuck and Anderson, Erik and Tangorra, James L "Robotic models for studying undulatory locomotion in fishes" Marine Technology Society Journal, v.45, 2011, p.41-55. doi:0025-3324 

Borazjani, I., Sotiropoulos, F., Tytell, E. D., and G. V. Lauder "On the hydrodynamics of the bluegill sunfish c-start escape response: three-dimensional simulations and comparison with experimental data" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.671.

Zhang, Jianyuan and Bowles, Faye L and Bearden, Daniel W and Ray, W Keith and Fuhrer, Tim and Ye, Youqing and Dixon, Caitlyn and Harich, Kim and Helm, Richard F and Olmstead, Marilyn M "A missing link in the transformation from asymmetric to symmetric metallofullerene cages implies a top-down fullerene formation mechanism" Nature chemistry, v.5, 2013, p.880-885. doi:1755-4330 

Chadwell, Brad A and Standen, Emily M and Lauder, George V and Ashley-Ross, Miriam A "Median fin function during the escape response of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). II: Fin-ray curvature" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.2881-2890. doi:0022-0949 

Zhang, Z., Philen, M. "Modeling, analysis, and experiments of inter yarn compaction effects in braided composite actuators" ," Journal of Composite Materials, v., 2012, p..

Tangorra, J., C. Phelan, C. Esposito, and G. V. Lauder "Use of biorobotic models of highly deformable fins for studying the mechanics and control of fin forces in fishes" Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.51, 2011, p.176.

Kancharala, AK and Philen, MK "Study of flexible fin and compliant joint stiffness on propulsive performance: theory and experiments" Bioinspiration & biomimetics, v.9, 2014, p.036011. doi:1748-3190 

Tytell, Eric D and Borazjani, Iman and Sotiropoulos, Fotis and Baker, T Vernon and Anderson, Erik J and Lauder, George V "Disentangling the functional roles of morphology and motion in the swimming of fish" Integrative and comparative biology, v.50, 2010, p.1140-1154. doi:1540-7063 

Alben, S., C. Witt, T. V. Baker, E. J. Anderson, and G. V. Lauder "Dynamics of freely swimming flexible foils" Physics of Fluids, v.24, 2012, p..

Fish, F. and G. V. Lauder "Not just going with the flow" American Scientist, v.101, 2013, p..

Dorn, Harry C and Fatouros, Panos P "Endohedral metallofullerenes: applications of a new class of carbonaceous nanomaterials" Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, v.2, 2010, p.65-72. doi:1941-4900 

Zhang, Jianfei and Ge, Jiechao and Shultz, Michael D and Chung, Eunna and Singh, Gurpreet and Shu, Chunying and Fatouros, Panos P and Henderson, Scott C and Corwin, Frank D and Geohegan, David B "In vitro and in vivo studies of single-walled carbon nanohorns with encapsulated metallofullerenes and exohedrally functionalized quantum dots" Nano letters, v.10, 2010, p.2843-2848. doi:1530-6984 

Tangorra, J. Gericke, T., and G. V. Lauder. "Learning from the fins of ray-finned fish for propulsors of unmanned undersea vehicles" Marine Technology Society Journal, v.45, 2011, p.65.

Sarles, S.A., Madden, J.D.W, and Leo, D.J. "Hair cell inspired mechanotransduction with a gel-supported, artificial lipid membrane" Soft Matter, v.7, 2011, p.4644.

Borazjani, Iman and Sotiropoulos, Fotis and Tytell, Eric D and Lauder, George V "Hydrodynamics of the bluegill sunfish C-start escape response: three-dimensional simulations and comparison with experimental data" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.671-684. doi:0022-0949 

Zhang, Zhiye and Philen, Michael and Neu, Wayne "A biologically inspired artificial fish using flexible matrix composite actuators: Analysis and experiment" Smart Materials and Structures, v.19, 2010, p.1-11. doi:09641726 

Sarles, Stephen A. and Leo, Donald J. "Membrane-based biomolecular smart materials" Smart Materials and Structures, v.20, 2011, p.. doi:10.1088/0964-1726/20/9/094018 

Zhang, Z., Philen, M. "Pressurized Artificial Muscles" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v.23, 2012, p.255.

Huang, W., Zhang, J., Dorn, H.C., Geohegan, D., Zhang, C. "Assembly of Single Wall Carbon Nanohorn Supported Liposome Particles" Bioconjugate Chemistry, v., 2011, p..

Fu, Wujun and Wang, Xuelei and Azuremendi, Hugo and Zhang, Jianyuan and Dorn, Harry C "14N and 45Sc NMR study of trimetallic nitride cluster (M3N) 6+ dynamics inside a icosahedral C80 cage" Chem. Commun., v.47, 2011, p.3858-3860. doi:1364-548X 

Philen, M. "Fluidic Flexible Matrix Composite Semi-Active Vibration Isolation Mounts" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v.23, 2012, p..

Tangorra, James L and Gericke, Timo and Lauder, George V "Learning from the fins of ray-finned fish for the propulsors of unmanned undersea vehicles" Marine Technology Society Journal, v.45, 2011, p.65-73. doi:0025-3324 

Lauder, George V and Flammang, Brooke and Alben, Silas "Passive robotic models of propulsion by the bodies and caudal fins of fish" Integrative and comparative biology, v., 2012, p.ics096. doi:1540-7063 

Blevins, E., and G. V. Lauder "Swimming near the substrate: a simple robotic model of stingray locomotion" Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, v.8, 2013, p..

Lauder G. V., Lim, J., Shelton, R., Witt, C., Anderson, E. J., and Tangorra, J. "Robotic models for studying undulatory locomotion in fishes" Marine Technology Society Journal, v.45, 2011, p.41.

Dorn, H.C., Fatouros, P.P. "Endohedral metallofullerenes: applications of a new class of carbonaceous nanomaterials" Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, v.2, 2010, p.65.

Zhang, Jianyuan and Fuhrer, Tim and Fu, Wujun and Ge, Jiechao and Bearden, Daniel W and Dallas, Jerry and Duchamp, James and Walker, Kenneth and Champion, Hunter and Azurmendi, Hugo "Nanoscale fullerene compression of an yttrium carbide cluster" Journal of the American Chemical Society, v.134, 2012, p.8487-8493. doi:0002-7863 

Fish, F. and Lauder, G. V. "Not just going with the flow" American Scientist, v.101, 2013, p.114-123.

Alben, Silas and Witt, Charles and Baker, T Vernon and Anderson, Erik and Lauder, George V "Dynamics of freely swimming flexible foils" Physics of Fluids (1994-present), v.24, 2012, p.051901.

Flammang, Brooke E and Lauder, George V and Troolin, Daniel R and Strand, Tyson E "Volumetric imaging of fish locomotion" Biology letters, v., 2011, p.rsbl20110. doi:1744-9561 

Sarles, S.A., Stiltner, L.J., Williams, C. B., and Leo, D.J., 2010 "Bilayer formation between lipid-encased hydrogels contained in solid substrates" Applied Materials and Interfaces, v.2, 2010, p.3654.

Chadwell, B. A., Standen, E. M., Lauder, G. V., and Ashley-Ross, M. A. "Median fin function during the escape response of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). II: fin-ray curvature" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.3231.

Blevins, Erin L and Lauder, George V "Rajiform locomotion: three-dimensional kinematics of the pectoral fin surface during swimming in the freshwater stingray Potamotrygon orbignyi" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.3231-3241. doi:0022-0949 

Flammang, B. E., G. V. Lauder, D. R. Trollin, T. Strand "Volumetric imaging of shark tail hydrodynamics reveals a three-dimensional dual-ring vortex wake structure" Proc. Royal. Soc. London, v., 2011, p.. doi:10.1098 

Alben, Silas and Witt, Charles and Baker, T Vernon and Anderson, Erik and Lauder, George V "Dynamics of freely swimming flexible foils" Physics of Fluids (1994-present), v.24, 2012, p.051901. doi:1070-6631 

Creasy, M Austin and Freeman, Eric C and Philen, Michael K and Leo, Donald J "Deterministic model of biomolecular networks with stimuli-responsive properties" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v., 2014, p.. doi:10.1177/1045389x14536004 

Ruiz-Torres, Ricardo and Curet, Oscar M and Lauder, George V and MacIver, Malcolm A "Kinematics of the ribbon fin in hovering and swimming of the electric ghost knifefish" The Journal of experimental biology, v.216, 2013, p.823-834. doi:0022-0949 

Esposito, Christopher J and Tangorra, James L and Flammang, Brooke E and Lauder, George V "A robotic fish caudal fin: effects of stiffness and motor program on locomotor performance" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.56-67. doi:0022-0949 

Chadwell, B. A., Standen, E. M., Lauder, G. V., and Ashley-Ross, M. A. "Median fin function during the escape response of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). I: Fin-ray orientation and movement" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.2869.

McNair, L.D., M. Davitt, and G. Batten "Outside the ?Comfort Zone?: Impacts of Interdisciplinary Research Collaboration on Research, Pedagogy, and Disciplinary Knowledge Production" Engineering Studies, v., 2015, p..

Sarles, Stephen A and Stiltner, L Justin and Williams, Christopher B and Leo, Donald J "Bilayer formation between lipid-encased hydrogels contained in solid substrates" ACS applied materials & interfaces, v.2, 2010, p.3654-3663. doi:1944-8244 

Zhang, Zhiye and Philen, Michael "Modeling, analysis and experiments of inter yarn compaction effects in braided composite actuators" Journal of Composite Materials, v., 2012, p.. doi:10.1177/0021998312463455 

Chadwell, Brad A and Standen, Emily M and Lauder, George V and Ashley-Ross, Miriam A "Median fin function during the escape response of bluegill sunfish (Lepomis macrochirus). I: Fin-ray orientation and movement" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.2869-2880. doi:0022-0949 

Blevins, Erin and Lauder, George V "Swimming near the substrate: a simple robotic model of stingray locomotion" Bioinspiration & biomimetics, v.8, 2013, p.016005. doi:1748-3190 

Dorn, Harry C and Fatouros, Panos P "2010" Nanoscience and Nanotechnology Letters, v.2, 2010, p.65.

Flammang, B. E., Lauder, G. V., Troolin, D. R. and Strand, T. "Volumetric imaging of fish locomotion" Biology Letters, v., 2011, p.. doi:10.1098 

Philen, M. "Fluidic Flexible Matrix Composite Semi-Active Vibration Isolation Mounts" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v.23, 2012, p.353.

Huang, Wei and Zhang, Jianfei and Dorn, Harry C and Geohegan, David and Zhang, Chenming "Assembly of single-walled carbon nanohorn supported liposome particles" Bioconjugate chemistry, v.22, 2011, p.1012-1016. doi:1043-1802 

Lauder, G. V., Flammang, B., and S. Alben "Passive robotic models of propulsion by the bodies and caudal fins of fish" Integrative and Comparative Biology, v.52, 2012, p.576.

Lauder, GV and Madden, PGA and Tangorra, JL and Anderson, E and Baker, TV "Bioinspiration from fish for smart material design and function" Smart Materials and Structures, v.20, 2011, p.094014. doi:0964-1726 

Tangorra, James and Phelan, Chris and Esposito, Chris and Lauder, George "Use of biorobotic models of highly deformable fins for studying the mechanics and control of fin forces in fishes" Integrative and comparative biology, v., 2011, p.icr036. doi:1540-7063 

Quinn, Daniel B and Lauder, George V and Smits, Alexander J "Flexible propulsors in ground effect" Bioinspiration & biomimetics, v.9, 2014, p.036008. doi:1748-3190 

Danos, Nicole and Lauder, George V "Challenging zebrafish escape responses by increasing water viscosity" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.1854-1862. doi:0022-0949 

Oeffner, J. and G. V. Lauder "The hydrodynamic function of shark skin and two biomimetic applications" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.785.

Zhang, Jianyuan and Ye, Youqing and Chen, Ying and Pregot, Christopher and Li, Tinghui and Balasubramaniam, Sharavanan and Hobart, David B and Zhang, Yafen and Wi, Sungsool and Davis, Richey M "Gd3N@ C84 (OH) x: A New Egg-Shaped Metallofullerene Magnetic Resonance Imaging Contrast Agent" Journal of the American Chemical Society, v.136, 2014, p.2630-2636. doi:0002-7863 

Zhang, Zhiye and Philen, Michael "Pressurized artificial muscles" Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, v.23, 2012, p.255-268. doi:10.1177/1045389X11420592 

Ruiz-Torres, R., Curet, O. M., Lauder, G. V., MacIver, M. A. "The kinematics of the ribbon fin in hovering and swimming of the electric ghost knifefish" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.216, 2013, p..

Blevins, E., and G. V. Lauder "Rajiform locomotion: three-dimensional kinematics of the pectoral fin surface during swimming by the freshwater stingray Potamotrygon orbignyi" Journal of Experimental Biology, v.215, 2012, p.3231.

Oeffner, Johannes and Lauder, George V "The hydrodynamic function of shark skin and two biomimetic applications" The Journal of experimental biology, v.215, 2012, p.785-795. doi:0022-0949 

Fu, W., Azurmendi, H., Zhang, J., Dorn, H.C. "14N and 45Sc NMR Trimetallic Nitride Cluster (M3N)6+ Dynamics Inside an Icosahedral C80 Cage" Chemical Communications, v.47, 2011, p.3858.


Project Outcomes Report

Disclaimer

This Project Outcomes Report for the General Public is displayed verbatim as submitted by the Principal Investigator (PI) for this award. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this Report are those of the PI and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation; NSF has not approved or endorsed its content.

In this multi-university collaborative research project (Virginia Tech, Harvard University, and Drexel University), we developed an engineering framework for the design and development of biologically inspired material systems and the synergistic effort of the team resulted in a greater understanding of the sensory and muscular systems of fish during locomotion.  Understanding how fish move through the water and how they develop force and sense flows is a very promising avenue for developing next-generation underwater robotic devices that exceed the capabilities of current man-made devices such as propellers for underwater vehicles.  Fish exhibit efficient and quiet locomotion and are able to accurately sense water flow around their bodies during swimming, capabilities that currently exceed human-engineered designs. Through the development of a robotic flapping system at Harvard (see figure), new findings into fish locomotion were discovered.   For example, fish modulate their stiffness of their muscular system for different locomotor tasks and this device demonstrated that there is an optimal stiffness, length, and shape of the fin for different swimming speeds and maneuvers.  Axial oscillations of the center of mass (COM) in fishes are not well modeled by conventional robotic devices which have substantially greater inertia when attached to laboratory measuring devices. Our new experiments showed that we could greatly reduce the within-cycle axial force oscillations with an appropriately phased imposed axial oscillation.  Caudal and pectoral fin responses on fish using a vortex perturber developed as part of this research provided new clues into fin stiffness modulation during swimming.  For example, it was found that fish increase the caudal fin stiffness with increases in swimming speed.  Additionally, the hydrodynamic advantage of shark skin is not well understood and this robotic system using real shark skin and artificial shark skin (see figure) demonstrated that swimming shark skin has an improved performance for specified swimming motions and the shark skin showed a reduced static drag as compared to a smooth surface.  Using digital image correlation (DIC) with artificial fins in a water tunnel, we found that there is an optimal joint and fin stiffness that maximizes swimming efficiency and thrust for different swimming conditions.  These outcomes provide biologists and engineers with a greater understanding of the physiology of fish, and these outcomes can be beneficial for many government and commercial applications such as more efficient underwater propulsion systems and new skins and materials that reduce drag. 

Inspired by the neuromast found on fish, which is a hair bundle using for sensing, the team developed a new artificial hair cell sensory system using biomolecular materials (see figure).  The artificial hair cell consists of a hair (cilium) embedded in a water-swollen hydrogel (follicle).  Similar to living cells, the hair cell system uses a lipid bilayer for regulating ion transport and provides the electrical signal when the artificial hair is excited.  Similarly new underwater thin-film flow sensors using carbonaceous nanomaterials have been developed.  Using carbon nanohorns, nanotubes, and Gd3N@C80 filled nanotubes, the sensors provide an output voltage response that is proportional to the flow speed as well as directionality.  The biologically inspired distributed sensing can be valuable for many applications, such as flow measurement for air and underwater vehicles, artificial hairs for advanced prosthetics and may lead to a new class of autonomous vehicles that can sense surrounding changes in water for hydrodynamic tracking and aid in propulsion optimization. 

This research had a significant impact on a numb...

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