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Insects as inspiration to improve aircraft

Trinity College professor David Taylor and his team of researchers In Dublin, Ireland are researching how to incorporate the way insect legs function with aircraft designs to help create them safer, reduce the aircraft weight and improve durability.

The researchers chose insects with different leg shape and lifestyles such as stick insects, bees, locusts and cockroaches to understand how they are able to buckle and bend when pressure is applied to the legs and hope to lead to the development of nature inspired biomimetic materials.

Stick insects have five longitudinal ridges running down their legs. “We discovered that these ridges do not prevent buckling but they do help the legs stay intact” said Taylor on Tech Times. In particular, they help resist a particular type of buckling called elastic buckling. This shows how material properties and geometry can interact in complex ways, which must be taken into account when designing thin-walled tubes.”