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An ionic polymer-metal composite (IPMC) beam is capable of producing an electric signal closely correlated with its mechanical movement, due to the redistribution of mobile ions inside the IPMC material. Motivated by the potential application of this intrinsic sensing characteristic to flow property measurements in automotive engines, this paper investigates the feasibility of detecting the start and end of a pulsating flow and its fluid characteristics using an IPMC-beam-based sensor. A dynamic model is developed for the IPMC beam under the flow. The model consists of multiple rigid elements connected by rotational springs and, under suitable conditions, has a closed-form solution that enables efficient estimation of fluid properties and flow parameters with the least-squares minimization approach. The proposed fluid estimation scheme is validated using experimental results with different fluid media, and it is found that the estimated fluid drag coefficients (highly correlated with fluid viscosity) have good agreement with their actual values. This is very important for automotive applications where the characteristics of the fuel blend (such as gasoline and ethanol) need to be identified in real time.