Stag Beetle Elytra: Localized Shape Retention and Puncture/Wear Resistance

Beetles are by far one of the most successful groups of insects, with large diversity in terms of number of species. A part of this success is attributed to their elytra, which provide various functions such as protection to their bodies from mechanical forces. In this study, stag beetle (Lucanus cervus) elytra were first examined for their overall flexural properties and were observed to have a localized shape-retaining snap-through mechanism, which may play a possible role in partly absorbing impact energy, e.g., during battles and falls from heights. The snap-through mechanism was validated using theoretical calculations and also finite element simulations. Elytra were also characterized to examine their puncture and wear resistance. Our results show that elytra have a puncture resistance that is much higher than that of mandible bites. The measured values of modulus and hardness of elytra exocuticle were 10.3 +/- 0.8 GPa and 0.7 +/- 0.1 GPa, respectively. Using the hardness-to-modulus ratio as an indicator of wear resistance, the estimated value was observed to be in the range of wear-resistant biological material such as blood worms (Glyrcera dibranchiata). Thus, our study demonstrates different mechanical properties of the stag beetle elytra, which can be explored to design shape-retaining bio-inspired composites with enhanced puncture and wear resistance.

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Insects, 10, 12, 438
Dec 01 2019

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 Record created 2020-01-17, last modified 2020-10-25

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