HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Engineers discover why toucan beaks are models of lightweight strength

As a boy growing up in Brazil 40 years ago, Marc A. Meyers marveled at the lightweight toughness of toucan beaks that he occasionally found on the forest floor. Now a materials scientist and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UCSD's Jacobs School of Engineering, Meyers said makers of airplanes and automobiles may benefit from the first ever detailed engineering analysis of toucan beaks conducted in his lab.

"Our computer modeling done shows that the beak is optimized to an amazing degree for high strength and very little weight," said Meyers. "It's almost as if the toucan has a deep knowledge of mechanical engineering."

In a paper to be published Dec. 1 in Acta Materialia, Meyers and graduate students Yasuaki Seki and Matthew S. Schneider reported that the secret to the toucan beak's lightweight strength is an unusual bio-composite. The interior of the beak is rigid "foam" made of bony fibers and drum-like membranes sandwiched between layers of keratin, the protein that makes up fingernails, hair, and horn. Just as the hook-shaped barbs on cockleburs inspired the development of Velcro, Meyers said the avian bio-composite could inspire the design of ultra-light aircraft and vehicle components with synthetic foams made with metals and polymers.

"The big surprise was our finding that the beak's sandwich structure also behaves as a high energy impact-absorption system," said Meyers. "Panels that mimic toucan beaks may offer better protection to motorists involved in crashes."

Toucans are highly social, noisy residents of rainforests in the Amazon, although the birds live as far north as Mexico. They use their extremely large and often brightly colored beaks for a variety of purposes, from gathering fruit from the tips of tree branches, to defending themselves.

Bird beaks are typically either short and thick or long and thin. The Meyers team decided to prospect for a novel material in toucan beaks because they are both
'"/>

Contact: Rex Graham
ragraham@ucsd.edu
858-822-3075
University of California - San Diego
30-Nov-2005


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Wiley extends publishing partnership with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers
2. Engineers develop process to recycle unused paint by blending it into common plastics
3. National panel led by LSU Chancellor releases report on Corps of Engineers
4. Top researcher-educators receive Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers
5. Engineers create optoelectronic tweezers to round up cells, microparticles
6. Engineers improve plastics potential for use in implants by linking it to biological material
7. Wiley forms book publishing partnership with American Institute of Chemical Engineers
8. New, more direct pathways from outside the cell-to-cell nuclei discovered
9. deCODE discovers cause of major subtype of glaucoma
10. Weizmann Institute scientists discover a control mechanism for metastasis
11. Penn researchers discover how key protein stops inflammation

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:3/2/2016)... 2016 http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/wzwqtz/global_biometrics ... the  "Global Biometrics Market in Hospitality Sector ... http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130307/600769) , , Global biometrics market in ... CAGR of around 27%   --> ... the addition of the  "Global Biometrics Market ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... 1, 2016 ... of the  "Global Biometric Access Control ... their offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/ghsgdt/global_biometric ... the  "Global Biometric Access Control Systems ... offering. --> Research and ...
(Date:3/1/2016)... and SAN FRANCISCO , March ... HYPR Corp. and BitGo, Inc. extends biometric authentication to ... and private keys. Bitcoin transactions ... billion per month in digital assets with over 10,000 ... for any startup. HYPR enables enterprises to keep encrypted ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/2/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 02, 2016 , ... ... with its clients in mind, the fresh look and added functionality give the ... “Recent years have seen a dynamic shift in agriculture – from precision farming ...
(Date:5/2/2016)... ... May 02, 2016 , ... F.E.E.D. Co., the ... of their revolutionary, veterinarian-designed product for indoor cats. The NoBowl Feeding System replaces ... their food the way nature intended. NoBowls make cats happy and healthy. , ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Proove Biosciences, Inc ., ... the launch of the Proove Health Foundation . The Foundation is a ... the use of personalized medicine for tackling the nation’s most-pressing healthcare epidemics. As ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... 29, 2016 According to ... Research "Separation Systems for Commercial Biotechnology Market - ... Forecast 2015 - 2023", the separation systems for ... Mn in 2014 and is projected to expand ... 2023 to reach US$ 19,227.8 Mn in 2023. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: