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Caltech Student to Deploy Jellyfish’s Propulsion System in Soft Robotics

Janna Nawroth, a student from California Institute of Technology, is researching on a novel driving system of the jellyfish for developing a perfect archetype of small pumps that can be planted inside the human body for several medical applications or in soft robotics.

Nawroth has stated that most pumps are developed from robust substances. He mentioned that the biological pumps implanted inside the body should be highly adaptable so that they transport fluids gently, without damaging the surrounding cells and tissues.

Nawroth is accompanied by John Dabiri, Engineer at Caltech and a jellyfish propulsion expert. His study has revealed that these cnidarians can be divided into two groups- those generating quicker and firmer strokes and those producing feeble but more effective stokes. Nawroth has also investigated flows and high currents produced by these strokes, which can be distinguished by means of Reynolds number, a dimensionless quantity.

According to Nawroth, the Reynolds Number identified in the propulsion of jellyfish of various ages and sizes are in the exact limit as required for medical purposes. As a preliminary move towards developing adaptable pumps, Nawroth is researching how the tissue constitution and shape of the jellyfish get accustomed to the requirements inflicted by flow settings at various Reynolds numbers. For instance, Jellyfishes of millimeter size use a small water layer sticking to their body surface during propulsion. This water layer is utilized as an extra paddle without additional cost.

In addition, an innovative array of several pacemakers inside the body of jellyfish enables a competent and adjustable pumping method. In the coming years, Nawroth has decided to utilize this study to assist in developing a complete spectrum of adjustable pumps that are ideal for performing several tasks.

Nawroth has explained his research at the American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics (DFD) meeting, which was held in California.

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