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Passive locomotion via normal-mode coupling in a submerged spring–mass system

  • EVA KANSO (a1) and PAUL K NEWTON (a1) (a2)


The oscillations of a class of submerged mass–spring systems are examined. An inviscid fluid model is employed to show that the hydrodynamic effects couple the normal modes of these systems. This coupling of normal modes can excite the displacement mode – yielding passive locomotion of the system – even when starting with zero displacement velocity. This is in contrast with the fact that under similar initial conditions but without the hydrodynamic coupling, such systems cannot achieve a net displacement. These ideas are illustrated via two examples of a two-mass and a three-mass system.


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