Ferrofluid Appendages: Fluid Fins, a Numerical Investigation on the Feasibility of using Fluids as Shapeable Propulsive Appendages


Department of Marine Technology, Amirkabir University of Technology, Tehran, Tehran 14717, Iran


The present study focuses on the feasibility of using fluids, and in particular magnetic fluids, as “Fluid Structures” in designing external appendages for the submerged bodies and propulsive fins as a practical example. After reviewing the literature of the mathematical simulation of magnetic fluids and their applications, the concept of “Fluid Structures” and “Fluid Fins” are briefly introduced. The validation of the numerical solver against analytical solutions is presented and acceptable error of 1.21% up to 2.29% is estimated. Subsequently, the initial shaping of the ferrofluid as an external fluid fin, using three combinations of internal magnetic actuators, is presented which makes the way to the oscillating motion of the obtained fin, by producing a periodically changing magnetic field. It is demonstrated that the shape of the fluid fin is almost the replica of the magnetic field. On the other hand, it is illustrated that a fluid fin with a size under 0.005 m on a circular submerged body of 1cm diameter could produce 0.0158 N force which is a high thrust force relative to the size of the body and the fin. Based on the obtained results, one may conclude that, when a “Fluid Fin” is capable of producing this amount of thrust, other fluid appendages could be scientifically contemplated and practically designed.