The beetle armor provides clues to tough planes

The beetle armor provides clues to tough planes

New York (AP) – This is a beetle that can withstand bird droppings, animal obstacles and being rolled by a Toyota Camry. Scientists are now studying what the bug-resistant shell might teach them about designing strong planes and buildings.

“This beetle is very hardy,” said Pablo Savattiri, a civil engineer at the University of Purdue, who was part of a team of researchers who ran over an insect with a car as part of a new study.

So, how does an indestructible insect do that? According to a study by Savatiri and his colleagues published in Nature on Wednesday, the species – aptly named diaphological iron clad beetle – owes its strength to an extraordinary shield. They say its design will help promote more durable structures and vehicles.

To understand what gives an inch-long beetle its strength, the researchers first tested how much squawking it could take. The species, found in the wilds of Southern California, endured a shrinkage of 39,000 times its own weight.

For a man with 200 pounds, it’s like 7.8 million pounds crashed.

Other native beetle species dispersed under one-third of the pressure.

The researchers then used electron microscopes and CDs.

As is often the case for unmanned beetles, the genus Elitra – a protective case that usually covers the wings – has become stronger and harder over time. Closer, scientists realized that this card specializes, benefiting from jigsaw-like bindings and one-layer architecture.

When compressed, they found that the system slowly broke down instead of bursting at once.

“When you avoid them, it doesn’t break the disaster. It decomposes a little bit. It’s important to the beetle.”

It is also useful for engineers designing aircraft and other vehicles with a wide variety of materials such as steel, plastic and plaster. Currently, engineers rely on pins, bolts, welding and adhesives to hold everything together. But those techniques are disgraceful.

In the structure of the beetle shell, nature offers an “interesting and elegant” alternative, Savattiri said.

Bo-Yu Chen, an engineer at the National Tsinghua University in Taiwan, said the beetle-inspired design gradually and predictably breaks down so cracks can be more reliably inspected for safety.

The beetle study is part of a U.S. Air Force-funded $ 8 million project to explore how the biology of organisms such as the Mantis shrimp and bicorn sheep could help develop impact-resistant materials.

“We’re trying to go beyond what nature has done,” said David Gizelles, co-author of Material Scientist and Engineering Research at the University of California, Irvine.

Colin Tonihu, an evolutionary biologist at Brown University who was not involved in the study, said the research was a recent attempt to borrow from the natural world to solve human problems. For example, Velcro was inspired by the hook-like structure of the plant purse. The synthetic glues took a side from the super sticky gecko legs.

Tonyhu said other endless traits found in nature may provide insight: “These are adaptations that have evolved over thousands of years.”


Follow Marion Renault on Twitter: Ar Marion Renault


The Associated Press Department of Health and Science is supported by the Department of Science Education at Howard Hughes Medical Institute. AP is solely responsible for all content.

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