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Cutting mechanics of wood by beetle larval mandibles

Kundanati, L and Chahare, NR and Jaddivada, S and Karkisaval, AG and Sridhar, R and Pugno, NM and Gundiah, N (2020) Cutting mechanics of wood by beetle larval mandibles. In: Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials, 112 .

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Official URL: https://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jmbbm.2020.104027


Wood boring is a feature of several insect species and is a major cause of severe and irreparable damage to trees. Adult females typically deposit their eggs on the stem surface under bark scales. The emerging hatchlings live within wood during their larval phase, avoiding possible predation, whilst continually boring and tunneling through wood until pupation. A study of wood boring by insects offers unique insights into the bioengineering principles that drive evolutionary adaptations. We show that larval mandibles of the coffee wood stem borer beetle (Xylotrechus quadripes: Cerambycidae) have a highly sharp cusp edge to initiate fractures in Arabica wood and a suitable shape to generate small wood chips that are suitable for digestion. Cuticle hardness at the tip is significantly enhanced through zinc-enrichment. A hollow architecture significantly reduces bending stresses at the mandibular base without compromising the structural integrity. Finite element model of the mandible showed highest stresses in the tip region; these decreased to significantly lower values at the start of the hollow section. A scaling model based on a fracture mechanics framework shows the importance of the mandible shape in generating optimal chip sizes. These findings contain general principles in tool design and put in focus interactions of insects and their woody hosts. © 2020 Elsevier Ltd

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Elsevier Ltd
Keywords: Fracture mechanics, Adult females; Bending stress; Cutting mechanics; Evolutionary adaptation; Hollow section; Scaling model; Stem surfaces; Tool designs, Wood products
Department/Centre: Division of Mechanical Sciences > Mechanical Engineering
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2020 10:43
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 10:43
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/66593

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