Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How a leaf beetle walks underwater

Date:
August 8, 2012
Source:
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel
Summary:
Insects are experts when it comes to adhesion on dry surfaces. However, in nature, plants may be covered by water for quite a long period of time, especially after rain. Scientists have now discovered the remarkable ability of the terrestrial leaf beetle to walk underwater. Picking up the beetle’s locomotion mechanism, they designed an artificial material, which sticks to surfaces underwater.

The beetle walking under water (white arrows indicate trapped air bubbles). Middle: Beetle feet attached to a surface. On the left it is surrounded by air. On the right it is under water. Bottom: A plastic toy bulldozer adhering to the substrate using the structured polymer with trapped air bubbles under water.
Credit: Copyright: CAU, Source: Stanislav Gorb and Naoe Hosoda

Insects are experts when it comes to adhesion on dry surfaces. However, in nature, plants may be covered by water for quite a long period of time, especially after rain. The bionic expert Professor Stanislav Gorb of Kiel University, Germany, and the material scientist Professor Naoe Hosoda of the National Institute for Material Science in Japan, discovered the remarkable ability of the terrestrial leaf beetle to walk underwater. Picking up the beetle's locomotion mechanism, they designed an artificial material, which sticks to surfaces underwater.

Related Articles


Their scientific results are published August 8 in the online journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

"It was a productive collaboration with Naoe Hosoda," states Gorb. "It is commonly known that adhesion between two solids in air can be produced with the help of water. Just like paper that sticks to table when it gets wet." The liquid surface tension between air, liquids and solids is called capillary force. In order to stick to dry surfaces insects use such capillary forces with the aid of their oil-covered adhesive setae instead of water.

"The same principle under water remains an exciting perspective, because without air there is no capillary force. The beetle shows us how to do it. It takes air bubbles under water," explains Gorb. The beetles use air bubbles trapped between their adhesive setae to produce the needed boundary between air, liquids and solids, and thus produce capillary adhesion under water. A necessary condition for this process is some hydrophobic property of the solid. But this is no problem in nature since many leaf tops are water-repellent to some degree, explains the Kiel scientist.

Gorb: "Inspired by this idea, we have designed an artificial silicone polymer structure with underwater adhesive properties." The challenge was to find a possibility to keep air within the material. The solution was a micro structure which produces a material that is sticky underwater without using glue. Probable fields of application can be found in underwater optics or any other kind of underwater technologies.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. N. Hosoda, S. N. Gorb. Underwater locomotion in a terrestrial beetle: combination of surface de-wetting and capillary forces. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2012; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.1297

Cite This Page:

Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "How a leaf beetle walks underwater." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 August 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808132526.htm>.
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. (2012, August 8). How a leaf beetle walks underwater. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808132526.htm
Christian-Albrechts-Universitaet zu Kiel. "How a leaf beetle walks underwater." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/08/120808132526.htm (accessed December 21, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Building Google Into Cars

Building Google Into Cars

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Google's next Android version could become the standard that'll power your vehicle's entertainment and navigation features, Reuters has learned. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP Review: Nikon D750 and GoPro Hero 4

AP (Dec. 19, 2014) What to buy an experienced photographer or video shooter? There is some strong gear on the market from Nikon and GoPro. The AP's Ron Harris takes a closer look. (Dec. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

Obama: Better Ways to Create Jobs Than Keystone Pipeline

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) US President Barack Obama says that construction of the Keystone pipeline would have 'very little impact' on US gas prices and believes there are 'more direct ways' to create construction jobs. Duration: 00:47 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins