Caroline Bernier

Funding: UCL Assistant
Supervisor(s): Philippe Chatelain, Renaud Ronsse

This project is in between Robotics and Fluid Mechanics and aims at the design of robust and efficient biomimetic swimming agents. The approach used to tackle the problem distinguishes itself from a broad body of work by a unique combination of multi-disciplinary tools: (i) high-fidelity Computational Fluid Dynamics to simulate self-propelled swimmers; (ii) compliant actuators to generate energy-efficient force-controlled patterns; (iii) oscillator-based coordination to distribute the computational load within a biologically inspired controller; and (iv) advanced optimization algorithm to calibrate the control schemes for a large variety of gaits. Different and complementary swimming gaits will be investigated, like energy-efficient or fast. Using compliant actuators will allow the swimmer to sense the fluid reactions being useful for its propulsion and exploit energy storage in the elastic deformations of the actuator.

IMMC main research direction(s):
Computational science
Dynamical and electromechanical systems
Fluid mechanics

energy harvesting
multi-body systems
vortex method

Research group(s): TFL - MEED
Collaborations: Mattia Gazzola (University of Illinois)


Recent publications

See complete list of publications

Journal Articles

1. Bernier, Caroline; Gazzola, Mattia; Ronsse, Renaud; Chatelain, Philippe. Simulations of propelling and energy harvesting articulated bodies via vortex particle-mesh methods. In: Journal of Computational Physics, Vol. 392, p. 34-55 (1 september 2019). doi:10.1016/

Conference Papers

1. Caprace, Denis-Gabriel; Bernier, Caroline; Duponcheel, Matthieu; Winckelmans, Grégoire; Chatelain, Philippe; Gillis, Thomas. Vortex particle-mesh methods: accurate and efficient handling of solid boundaries. 2018 xxx.

2. Bernier, Caroline; Gazzola, Mattia; Ronsse, Renaud; Chatelain, Philippe. Numerical simulations and environment sensing strategies for robotic swimmers at low Reynolds number. 2018 xxx.

3. Bernier, Caroline; Gazzola, Mattia; Chatelain, Philippe; Ronsse, Renaud. Numerical Simulations and Development of Drafting Strategies for Robotic Swimmers at Low Reynolds Number. In: 2018 7th IEEE International Conference on Biomedical Robotics and Biomechatronics (Biorob), IEEE, 2018, 978-1-5386-8183-1 xxx. doi:10.1109/biorob.2018.8488055.

4. Bernier, Caroline; Gazzola, Mattia; Ronsse, Renaud; Chatelain, Philippe. Combining the Vortex Particle-Mesh method with a Multi-Body System solver for the simulation of self-propelled articulated swimmers. 2017 xxx.

5. Bernier, Caroline; Mattia, Gazzola; Ronsse, Renaud; Chatelain, Philippe. Coupling a vortex particle-mesh method to a multi-body system solver for the simulation of articulated swimmers. 2016 xxx.


1. Bernier, Caroline. Interactions between flow and actuated structures simulated through a Vortex Particle-Mesh method : application to swimming and energy harvesting devices, prom. : Ronsse, Renaud ; Chatelain, Philippe, 21/12/2021.