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Google Science Fair finalist investigates squid propulsion for underwater vehicles

By Shane Graber - Posted Jul 01, 2013 08:00 AM
Every year Google hosts an online science fair competition open to students ages 13-18 from around the globe. One of this year's finalists investigates using squid propulsion to power an underwater vehicle.
Google Science Fair finalist investigates squid propulsion for underwater vehicles

Squid-Jet: Bio-Inspired Propulsion System for Underwater Vehicles

Alex Spiride, age 13 is one of 15 Google Science Fair finalists. He entered his squid-inspired propulsion system in the 13-14 year old category for this year's science fair under the title "Squid-Jet: Bio-Inspired Propulsion System for Underwater Vehicles."

Squid propulsion concept.

Spiride states that "Squid and some other sea creatures use a very efficient mode of locomotion, know as jet propulsion. Squid will draw water into a bladder through a hole called the mantle, and then they force it out, by contracting the bladder, to shoot forwards in speeds of up to 40 km/hour.

Implementing this technique in underwater vehicles can vastly improve the efficiency with which they locomote. My proposal is Squid-Jet, a bio-inspired underwater vehicle that uses jet propulsion to its advantage. Squid-Jet easily outperforms current man-made propulsion systems and can reach speeds in excess of 30 cm/second."

His project uses a pressurized PVC enclosure and uses an internal bladder to create a hydrojet, which moves his vehicle forward. When the PVC enclosure is pressurized with air, it forces water contained in the bladder out the back through a nozzle, propelling the enclosure forward. Water is then sucked back into the bladder when the pressure is reduced. Cycling this pressure / release back and forth propels his PVC enclosure forward (see video below).

Spiride's project is quite impressive and he lists a number of different applications for the Squid-Jet ranging from underwater exploration, oil spill cleanup, marine biology studies, defense systems, natural gas, oil, or water pipelines.

(via Hackaday)

Author: Shane Graber
Location: Indiana

Shane has kept saltwater tanks for the last 12 years, is a research scientist, lives in northern Indiana, and is a proud Advanced Aquarist staffer.


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