California Institute of Technology


The Center's program in bio-inspired propulsion consists of a combination of field research on the mechanics of animal swimming and flying and laboratory experiments on self-propelled vehicles. The field research advances our understanding of the mechanisms whereby animals achieve their observed stealth, efficiency, and maneuverability. Laboratory experiments conducted in state-of-the-art wind and water tunnel facilities are used to probe the fundamental fluid mechanics and flow-structure interactions that give rise to enhanced propulsive performance. Whereas the majority of existing efforts toward bio-inspired propulsion involve mimicking the shape and kinematics of animals, research in the Center utilizes a hybrid approach that combines existing propulsion technology with unsteady fluid mechanics to achieve the desired performance characteristics of flying and swimming animals.


Beverley McKeon

Professor McKeon's research interests include interdisciplinary approaches to the manipulation and control of boundary layer flows using morphing surfaces, and fundamental investigations of wall turbulence at high Reynolds number.