August 2012

Monthly Archive

Veins Improve Fracture Toughness of Insect Wings

Posted by on 29 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry









The advantage of veins…

Desert locusts are known to travel great distances, experiencing substantial mechanical stress along the way, however little is understood about their wings ability to resist damage during these long flights. Using a tensile test machine, Trinity College researchers Dr. Dirks and Dr. Taylor investigated the toughness of these insect’s extremely thin wings, specifically looking into the function of the network of veins running through the wing membrane, shown in Figure 1 above, as barriers to crack propagation. As the title, “Veins Improve Fracture Toughness of Insect Wings” suggests, the study found these veins increased the effective structural toughness of the wing significantly, causing cracks to slow or stop and helps explain how the insects manage to withstand damage incurred over long flights. Check out Video 1 of the article to see the veins impede cracks. Continued at

TCP and The Regulation of Ant Colony Foraging Activity

Posted by on 28 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry








11,000 ant species…so much we can learn:

Many dynamical networks, such as the ones that produce the collective behavior of social insects, operate without any central control, instead arising from local interactions among individuals. A well-studied example is the formation of recruitment trails in ant colonies, but many ant species do not use pheromone trails… The fundamental question about the collective behavior of animals is how the actions of individuals add up to the dynamic behavior we observe. In many systems, including animal groups, distributed networks are regulated using feedback based on local interactions. Continued at PLOS – Computational Biology

Biomimicry at Work – Team Banana

Posted by on 10 Aug 2012 | Tagged as: biomimicry

My Photo

A great case study by :

We need to pull this system of disparate parts together. The sea sponge comes to mind: a porous bag of tissues inside a tough exterior tube. Water draws nutrients through the tube, to be filtered for consumption by the porous bag. Or spider webs, passively filtering insects while the breeze passes through. We can use these strategies to keep insects out, while drawing ethylene in. Our plan emerges: a mesh bag, surrounded by a waxy canvas tube, is tied over the developing penca. Continued at