Inspired by a scallop's strong underwater propulsion mechanism, we designed and prototyped a scallop robot capable of clapping and swimming. In this work, an artificial velum was used to work as a check valve to stimulate the robot's swimming. A couple of supporting plates were fixed on the robot shells to achieve the modulation of clapping process of the shells. The scallop robot can move at a maximum average and instantaneous speed of 3.4 and 4.65 body lengths per second, respectively. The effect of the supporting plates, the artificial velum, as well as the clapping frequency and amplitude on the swimming performance of the scallop robot was also experimentally evaluated. By tuning the sizes of the jet apertures, the scallop robot is capable of achieving high mobility actions such as turning. We also obtained the aperture ratio with the corresponding turning radius. This scallop robot provides a new propulsion mechanism in underwater bionic robots; it is also of help to understand the swimming principle of scallops in terms of jet propulsion and clapping motion.
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