This diabolical iron clad super beetle will keep a car running – and help with engineering problems

This diabolical iron clad super beetle will keep a car running - and help with engineering problems

New York (CNN) – Scientists creating new materials are studying an unlikely source of strength: a beetle that can withstand running a car.

Researchers at the University of Purdue and the University of California, Berkeley, studied the dialectical iron clad beetle – Floyd’s diaphilicus – which was appropriately used to understand the secret behind its strength.

“If you pick up any beetle and want to break it with your finger, you can kill it,” he told CNN.

But the diabolical iron clad beetle is not. “This beetle is so hard, the energy or power that you can do with your hand, it’s not enough – it’s like a rock,” said Pablo D. Chavez, a professor of civil engineering at Burdock and a research teacher. “A car tire is not enough to break it.”

The The findings were published in the journal Nature On Wednesday.

In the hope of recreating such strength in construction materials, experts wanted to understand why.

Using advanced microscopy, spectroscopy and in situ mechanical testing, the researchers identified the architectural designs within the exoskeleton of the organism.

Scientists have discovered that the super hardness of diaphoretic iron clad beetles lies in its armor. The insect has two shield-like “elitrons” – used in flying beetles to deploy wings – they meet in a line, called a soot, which runs along the length of its abdomen.

Millions of years ago, most beetles flew, Savatieri explained. “This particular beetle, as part of evolution, no longer flies,” he said.

Although the diabolical iron clad beetle does not use its eliton for flight, instead the elitra and patch stitches help to distribute the application force more evenly throughout the insect’s body.

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The suture acts like a jigsaw, attaching various external bones of the organism to the abdomen, which lock in to prevent them from pulling themselves out, Javattiri explained.

If the seam is broken, another safety mechanism allows the blades to slowly disengage. This prevents the sudden release of energy, otherwise the beetle’s neck will break.

Using steel plates, the team of researchers discovered that it can take up to 150 Newtons of applied force – about 39,000 times its body weight – before its external fracture begins.

Scientists say a car tire will use about 100 Newtons of power if it rides on an insect on a dirty surface.

With a good understanding of how the beetle can withstand such force, the team hopes they can create tough objects.

One of the most important issues in engineering is the combination of materials of different compositions, for example, the combination of aluminum and steel, in fields such as aerospace, Savatieri CNN.

For example, when building air turbines, metals are often combined with composite materials with mechanical fasteners, which can add weight, introduce stress and eventually lead to features and corrosion in the structure.

“We have materials. One of the engineering issues is how to combine them,” Savattiri said.

“We can use these formulas – they show you the way the beetle does it – to improve their hardness,” he said.

“This is a great example of how nature uses this connection,” he said. “Every time we look at nature, we learn something new.”

The-CNN-Wire © & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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About the Author: Cary Douglas

Cary Douglas is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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