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Journal of Bionic Engineering

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 6–12 | Cite as

Macro-/micro-structures of elytra, mechanical properties of the biomaterial and the coupling strength between elytra in beetles

  • Zhendong DaiEmail author
  • Zhixiang Yang
Article

Abstract

Macro-/Micro-structures and mechanical properties of the elytra of beetles were studied. The Scan Electron Microscope (SEM) and optical microscopy were employed to observe the macro-/micro-structure of the surface texture and cross-section structure of elytra. Nano-indentation was carried out to measure the elastic modulus and the hardness of elytra. Tensile strengths of elytra in lateral and longitudinal directions were measured by a multifunctional testing machine. The coupling force between elytra was also measured and the clocking mechanism was studied. SEM images show the similar geometric structure in transverse and longitudinal sections and multilayer — dense epicuticle and exocuticle, followed by bridge piers with a helix structured fibers, which connect the exocuticle to the endodermis, and form an ellipse empty to reduce the structure weight. The elastic modulus and the hardness are topologically distributed and the mechanical parameters of fresh elytra are much higher than those of dried elytra. The tensile strength of the fresh biological material is twice that of dried samples, but there is no clear difference between the data in lateral and longitudinal directions. Coupling forces measured are 6.5 to 160 times of beetles’ bodyweight, which makes the scutellum very important in controlling the open and close of the elytra. The results provide a biological template to inspire lightweight structure design for aerospace engineering.

Keywords

beetle elytra mechanical properties of biomaterial coupling force 

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Copyright information

© Jilin University 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Bio-Inspired Structure and Surface EngineeringNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingP. R. China

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