Beetles are by far one of the most successful and diverse insect species. A part of this success is attributed to their elytra which provide various functions such as protection to their bodies from mechanical forces and the harmful environmental factors. 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 could play a crucial role in energy absorption, 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 resisted puncture up to a force of 1.8±0.4 N and have puncture resistance compared to that of commercially available puncture resistant gloves. The measured values of modulus and hardness of elytra exocuticle were 10.3±0.8 GPa and 0.7±0.1 GPa. 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 materials. 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.
beetle elytra; snap-through; puncture-resistant
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