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
University of California - San Diego

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:

(Date:4/5/2017)... 5, 2017 Today HYPR Corp. , ... server component of the HYPR platform is officially ... end-to-end security architecture that empowers biometric authentication across Fortune ... already secured over 15 million users across the financial ... connected home product suites and physical access represent a ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... 30, 2017  On April 6-7, 2017, Sequencing.com will ... hackathon at Microsoft,s headquarters in ... focus on developing health and wellness apps that provide ... the Genome is the first hackathon for personal ... largest companies in the genomics, tech and health industries ...
(Date:3/28/2017)... -- The report "Video Surveillance Market by ... Devices), Software (Video Analytics, VMS), and Service (VSaaS, Installation ... 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market was valued at ... reach USD 75.64 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR ... considered for the study is 2016 and the forecast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The Blavatnik Family ... and six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. ... and administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... Diego, CA (PRWEB) , ... ... ... (https://www.onramp.bio/ ) has launched Rosalind™, the first-ever genomics analysis platform specifically ... all bioinformatics complexity. Named in honor of pioneering researcher Rosalind Franklin, who ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Proscia ... be hosting a Webinar titled, “Pathology is going digital. Is your lab ready?” ... pathology adoption best practices and how Proscia improves lab economics and realizes an ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... Singh Biotechnology today announced that ... SBT-100, its novel anti-STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) B VHH13 ... cross the cell membrane and bind intracellular STAT3 and inhibit its function. Dysregulation ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: