This Beetle Can Be Driven Over By A Car And Will Still Survive

Roshni Ramesan
·3-min read

Generally speaking, beetles can be crushed with one’s bare hands. But the diabolical ironclad beetle, yes that is its real name, can survive not just a human’s wrath but also that of a car.

This beetle, the study of which can help out in solving engineering problems while building planes and buildings, can withstand a force nearly 39,000 times its body weight. Meanwhile, most humans can barely pick up even double their body weight without collapsing onto the floor in despair.

The ‘Uncrushable’ Diabolical Ironclad Beetle

Nosoderma diabolicum, with the common name diabolical ironclad beetle, is not your average beetle. With a resilient exoskeleton, a diabolical beetle can resist any hits that come along its way.

The diabolical ironclad beetle
The diabolical ironclad beetle

The beetle, which is native to North America, was the subject of research done by researchers of Purdue University and the University of California, Irvine. The research, which was published in the journal Nature, reported that the resilient architectural design of the beetle is such that it can withstand great forces applied to it.

While a normal beetle can fly, the diabolical beetle does not have the ability to spread its wings and soar.

And so to make up for its ability to deal with attacks by flying, the beetle has a tough elytron (the wing case) which, the researchers were surprised to find, did not shatter when it was subjected to force.

A simulation of the puzzle piece-like blades in its abdomen
A simulation of the puzzle piece-like blades in its abdomen

Instead, the blades of the suture lock themselves to prevent shattering. In case the exoskeleton comes close to breaking under immense force, the blades divide into layers, like that of an onion, thus gently getting pulled apart and deforming gracefully to make sure that the beetle’s neck does not snap.

Also Read: The Birds In Delhi Are Changing From Cute Sparrows To Ugly Jungle Babbler, But Why?

Can Survive Force Applied 39,000 Times Its Weight

This beetle is so tough that the energy or the force that you can do with your hand, it’s not enough, it’s like a piece of rock. The tire of a car is not enough to collapse it,” said Pablo D. Zavattieri, a professor and study author.

Using computer simulations and 3D-printed models, researchers were able to discover that the insect could survive an applied force of 150 newtons which is nearly 39,000 times its body weight before it started to fracture.

In comparison, a car would apply a force of 100 newtons if run over the beetle, a force it most certainly can survive.

The average beetle will not survive being run over by a car so don’t even try testing it
The average beetle will not survive being run over by a car so don’t even try testing it

Solutions In Aerospace Design

This study really bridges the fields of biology, physics, mechanics and materials science toward engineering applications, which you don’t typically see in research,” said lead author David Kisailus, a UCI professor.

While at present, engineers do have the materials required to create innovative aerospace and infrastructural designs, there are still problems in joining various materials together without making them vulnerable to fracture.

This is where the research on the diabolical beetle comes in.

A CT scan of the beetle
A CT scan of the beetle

By studying the structure of the beetle, scientists can make a similar arrangement and make more durable connections. While making aircraft turbines, materials of different composition can now be joined together in a way that would make it less resistant to corrosion based on the research done on the diabolical beetle.

It is rightly said that nature truly does inspire innovation and creativity.

Image Credits: Google Images

Sources: Purdue, CNN, Nature

Find the blogger: @RoshniKahaHain

This post is tagged under: Strongest insect, beetle that can survive being run over by a car, Purdue university research, aerospace design research, Nature journal, beetle that cannot fly, uncrushable beetle, diabolical ironclad beetle, super beetle, beetle impossible to crush

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