We studied the dynamics associated with planar swimming in the microorganism Giardia lamblia. Giardia parasitizes the small intestine of humans and other animals, and has evolved a robust attachment and swimming mechanism to survive this harsh environment, which provides potential bio-inspiration for microrobot design. In this paper, a 2D dynamic model of flagella-body-fluid interaction was developed to analyze the actuation of the flagellum, energy supply and dissipation, and thrust along the flagellum. We found that to achieve the observed flagella motion, the required actuation bending moment decreases in magnitude from the proximal to the distal end, and that energy only needs to be supplied to the proximal half portion of the flagellum. The supplied energy is dissipated to the fluid continuously along the flagellum, with almost linearly increasing magnitude towards the distal end. Consistently, thrust mainly comes from the posterior portion of the flagellum. We also analyzed the kinematics of the flagella. The characteristics of the forward and turning motion are revealed through simulation. These results may help the gait planning and actuation for energy efficient propulsion in swimming micro-robotic design.
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