In their quest to design stronger planes and buildings, a group of New York engineers have turned to beetles for help.
“This beetle is super tough,” says Purdue University civil engineer Pablo Zavattieri, whose team has found the ironclad beetle can withstand being pecked by birds, stomped on by animals and even driven over by Toyota Camrys. The insect is so soundly constructed it can withstand a force equal to 39,000 times its own weight, Zavattieri says.
That’s the equivalent of a 200-pound man being crushed by a 7.8 million-pound object.
Researchers have found the strength lies within the construction of the insect’s shell, which is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle, the study has found. Zavattieri and his team are now looking for ways to use that information in the design of aircraft and buildings, he says.