A blade-element approach is used to analyse the mechanics of the drag-based pectoral fin power stroke in an Angelfish in steady forward, rectilinear progression.
Flow reversal occurs at the base of the fin at the beginning and at the end of the power stroke. Values for the rate of increase and decrease in the relative velocity of the blade-elements increase distally, as do such values for hydrodynamical angle of attack. At the beginning and end of the power stroke, negative angles occur at the base of the fin.
The outermost 40% of the fin produces over 80% of the total thrust produced during the power stroke, and doe8 over 80% of the total work. Small amounts of reversed thrust are produced at the base of the fin during the early and late parts of the stroke.
The total amount of energy required during a cycle to drag the body and inactive fins through the water is calculated to be approximately 2.8 × 10−6 J and the total energy produced by the fins over the cycle (ignoring the recovery stroke) which is associated with producing the hydrodynamic thrust force, is about 1.0 × 10−5 J; which gives a propulsive efficiency of about 0.26.
The energy required to move the mass of a pectoral fin during the power stroke is calculated to be approximately 2.6 × 10−7 J. Taking this into account reduces the value of the propulsive efficiency by about 4% to about 0.25. The total energy needed to accelerate and decelerate the added mass associated with the fin is calculated and added to the energy required to produce the hydrodynamic thrust force and the energy required to move the mass of the fins; giving a final propulsive efficiency of 0.18.
The Mechanics of Labriform Locomotion I. Labriform Locomotion in the Angelfish (Pterophyllum Eimekei): An Analysis of the Power Stroke
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R. W. BLAKE; The Mechanics of Labriform Locomotion I. Labriform Locomotion in the Angelfish (Pterophyllum Eimekei): An Analysis of the Power Stroke. J Exp Biol 1 October 1979; 82 (1): 255–271. doi: https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.82.1.255
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