Liao Lab Research Published in PNAS and Featured in UF News Video

Liao Lab Research Published in PNAS and Featured in UF News Video

Published: Monday, January 22, 2018

Congratulations to the Liao Lab at Whitney Laboratory for its research being featured in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). The publication, titled Accelerating fishes increase propulsive efficiency by modulating vortex ring geometry, can be found in the current issue of PNAS. The research was also featured in a video produced by UF News, which can be viewed below.

“The fact that despite all the diversity of aquatic animal life and the countless ways they swim under normal situations, the physical properties of water force them all to move the same way when push comes to shove and they need to accelerate quickly,” said Dr. Liao as he explained what is exciting about the findings.

Dr. Liao also explains about the technology used in the research. “We took advantage of the unique oceanside location of the Whitney Lab to collect over 50 species. We swam each of these fish in a flow tank in the Liao Lab (a treadmill for fish) and filmed their swimming movements with a military grade high-speed video camera (used for weapon ballistics) to slow down the motions so that we could measure them. We use an engineering technique called Digital Particle Image Velocimetry to visualize and quantify the water flow behind the fish (we visualized its footprints to calculate its swimming efficiency). Lastly, we scanned a 3-D image of the fish and printed it on a 3-D printer in the Liao Lab. We took this flexible model and placed it in a robotic arm controller and “swam” the soft model in a way that a fish normally swims while measuring the force it produces at the same time,” said Dr. Liao.

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