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Issue 4, 2018
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Optimal propulsion of an undulating slender body with anisotropic friction

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Abstract

This study investigates theoretically and numerically the propulsive sliding of a slender body. The body sustains a transverse and propagative wave along its main axis, and undergoes anisotropic friction caused by its surface texture sliding on the floor. A model accounting for the anisotropy of frictional forces acting on the body is implemented. This describes the propulsive force and gives the optimal undulating parameters for efficient forward propulsion. The optimal wave characteristics are effectively compared to the undulating motion of a slithering snakes, as well as with the motion of sandfish lizards swimming through the sand. Furthermore, numerical simulations have indicated the existence of certain specialized segments along the body that are highly efficient for propulsion, explaining why snakes lift parts of their body while slithering. Finally, the inefficiency of slithering as a form of locomotion to ascend a slope is discussed.

Graphical abstract: Optimal propulsion of an undulating slender body with anisotropic friction

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Publication details

The article was received on 02 Aug 2017, accepted on 12 Dec 2017 and first published on 12 Dec 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01545C
Citation: Soft Matter, 2018,14, 635-642
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    Optimal propulsion of an undulating slender body with anisotropic friction

    B. Darbois Texier, A. Ibarra and F. Melo, Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 635
    DOI: 10.1039/C7SM01545C

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