Events Calendar

Bio-inspired Propulsion Using Traveling Waves

This is a past event.

Virtual Event

Thursday, March 4, 2021 4 pm

This is a past event.

The Development and Implementation of Structure-Borne Traveling Waves

ME-EM Virtual Graduate Seminar Speaker Series

proudly presents

Patrick Musgrave, PhD

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory


A core mission of the U.S. Navy is persistent maritime awareness. As part of this mission, there is an increasing use of small autonomous systems such as Unmanned Underwater Vehicles (UUVs). Since these UUVs are deployed across domains, certain missions have requirements where propeller-driven systems are not sufficient. Specifically, those missions requiring high-maneuverability and operation near obstructions. Bio-inspired systems utilizing traveling wave propulsion can fill these gaps. Structure-Borne Traveling Waves (SBTWs) are a promising propulsion method that utilizes a mechanism unique from other bio-inspired systems. SBTWs are a resonance-based method to generate traveling waves, taking advantage of a surface’s inherent structural properties (i.e. mode shapes and natural frequencies). This enables traveling wave propulsion that is actively adaptable (speed and direction), can be tailored to utilize passive surfaces, and requires only a small actuation footprint. In addition to propulsion, these SBTWs could also be implemented as bearing-less pumps and for active drag reduction.

To develop SBTWs for these applications, several questions must be addressed. (1) How can SBTWs be generated and tailored on operationally relevant surfaces? (2) How can the fluid-structure coupling imposed by these applications be captured, and in a manner that enables design optimization? This talk will discuss the Naval Research Laboratory’s (NRL) ongoing efforts to address these questions in the push to develop SBTWs for propulsion, pumping, and drag reduction.


Dr. Patrick Musgrave is a research scientist within the Naval Center for Space Technology at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, DC. He has bachelor’s degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from the University of Pittsburgh, and earned his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech. He has also studied at the Technical University of Munich in Germany, having received both the D.A.A.D Study Scholarship and U.S. Fulbright Award.

In addition to his work at NRL, Dr. Musgrave has served as an Adjunct Professor at George Mason University in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dr. Musgrave’s research focuses on adaptive structures & fluid-structure interactions. His specific interests include bio-inspired propulsion, morphing aerospace structures, and space structures.

Invited by: Sriram Malladi

Stream Details

Additional Details

0 people added

User Activity

No recent activity