A beetle that withstands the weight of a car inspires engineers

Scientists are studying this specimen to adapt its properties to the creation of stronger structures.

The scientists ran over it with a car, but nothing helped: the armoured beetle, called Phloeodes diabolicus, does not move an eyelash and withstands the pressure without difficulty.

Intrigued by its ultra-resistant structure, researchers at Purdue University and the University of California have studied this atypical beetle, and have just published a study in the journal Nature that reveals some of the secrets of its strength.

First, the team assessed how resistant the beetle was. By stacking steel plates on it, the scientists discovered that the creature could support a load of about 39,000 times its body weight – as if a 60-kilogram person were carrying 2,340,000 beetles on his back.

The secret of the beetle’s resistance would lie in its structure. Its armor is made up in the shape of a jigsaw puzzle, with superimposed layers. Instead of breaking all at once under pressure, its structure fractures slowly, allowing it to support extremely heavy loads.

Buildings of the future
By observing this little beetle, scientists start to dream: would it be possible to adapt these fantastic properties to the buildings of the future?

The beetle’s unique structure could inspire the design of stronger buildings that don’t crack as easily and produce less corrosion, says CNN.

Scientists also believe that this feature could be used in aircraft construction, for example, to strengthen the connections between materials of different compositions. The bolts, welds and other fasteners currently in use make the aircraft heavier and degrade over time.