To improve the safety of long tubular structures which are used in aircrafts and hospital equipments to reduce weight, researchers are taking ideas from insect legs.
Trinity College Dublin scientists looked at how different leg shapes of locusts, cockroaches, stick insects and bees bend and buckle when stress is applied to them.
Professor David Taylor said that thin-walled tubes were prone to failure by buckling and it was also difficult to predict the loading conditions which caused buckling, especially for tubes of non-standard cross section.
For the research the researchers chose insects with different leg shape and lifestyles.
The study found out that stick insects have five longitudinal ridges running down their legs which help them in resisting a particular type of buckling called elastic buckling where as bees have legs with a triangular cross section.
Moreover, locusts and cockroaches have hollow legs with near-circular cross sections and they come close to breaking their legs when they jump.
Hoping that understanding insect cuticle would inspire future biomimetic materials, Taylor said that even though the arthropod cuticle was one of the most common materials in the world, they didn’t know much about it.