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A comparative study of the effects of constructional elements on the mechanical behaviour of dragonfly wings

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Dirks,  Jan-Henning
Cellular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Rajabi, H., Rezasefat, M., Darvizeh, A., Dirks, J.-H., Eshgi, S., Shafiei, A., et al. (2016). A comparative study of the effects of constructional elements on the mechanical behaviour of dragonfly wings. Applied Physics A, 122: 19, pp. 1-13. doi:10.1007/s00339-015-9557-6.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002C-469D-7
Abstract
Although wings of insects show a large variation in morphology, they are all made from a network of irregular veins interconnected through membranous areas. Depending on their shape, size, and position, wing veins are usually divided into three different groups: longitudinal veins, cross-veins and ambient veins. The veins together with the membrane and some other elements such as spines, nodus and pterostigma can be considered as the wing’s “constructional elements”. In spite of rather extensive literature on dragonfly wing structure, the role of each of these elements in determining the wing’s function remains mostly unknown. As this question is difficult to answer in vivo using biomechanical experiments on actual wings, this study was undertaken to reveal the effects of the constructional elements on the mechanical behaviour of dragonfly wings by applying numerical simulations. An image processing technique was used to develop 12 finite element models of the insect wings with different constructional elements. The mechanical behaviour of these models was then simulated under normal and shear stresses due to tension, bending and torsion. A free vibration analysis was also performed to determine the resonant frequencies and the mode shapes of the models. For the first time, a quantitative comparison was carried out between the mechanical effects selectively caused by different elements. Our results suggest that the complex interactions of veins, membranes and corrugations may considerably affect the dynamic deformation of the insect wings during flight.