Mitigating memory effects during undulatory locomotion on hysteretic materials dataset

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Schiebel, Perrin E.
Rieser, Jennifer M.
Astley, Henry C.
Agarwall, S.
Hubicki, C.
Hubbard, Alex M.
Cruz, K.
Mendelson, J.
Kamrin, K.
Goldman, Daniel I.
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Undulatory swimming in flowing media like water is well studied, but little is known about locomotion in environments that are permanently deformed by body-substrate interactions like snakes in sand, eels in mud, and nematode worms in rotting fruit. We study the desert-specialist snake Chionactis occipitalis traversing granular matter and find body inertia is negligible despite rapid transit. New surface resistive force theory (RFT) calculation reveals this snake's waveform minimizes material memory effects and optimizes speed given anatomical limitations (power). RFT explains the morphology and waveform dependent performance of a diversity of non-sand-specialists, but over-predicts the capability of snakes with high slip. Robophysical experiments recapitulate aspects of these failure-prone snakes, elucidating how reencountering previously remodeled material hinders performance. This study reveals how memory effects stymied the locomotion of snakes in our previous study [Marvi et al, Science, 2014] and suggests the existence of a predictive model for history-dependent locomotion.
This work was funded by NSF PoLS PHY-1205878, PHY-1150760, and CMMI-1361778. ARO W911NF-11-1-0514, U.S. DoD, NDSEG 32 CFR 168a (P.E.S.), and the Simons Southeast Center for Mathematics and Biology
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