Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Float Like a Mosquito, Sting Like a…Mosquito

04.03.2015

Researchers evaluate mosquitoes' ability to float on water in order to potentially design aquatic robots

Small semi-aqueous arthropods, such as mosquitoes and water striders, are free to go about their waterborne business thanks to their unique leg-based adaptations, which repel water and allow them to float freely on the surface.


Jianlin Liu/China University of Petroleum

(a–c) Sequence of the terminal half of a tarsus progressively depressing the water surface. (d–f) Sequence of the whole hind leg progressively depressing the water surface.

By examining the forces that the segments of mosquito legs generate against a water surface, researchers at the China University of Petroleum (Huadong) and Liaoning University of Technology have unraveled the mechanical logic that allows the mosquitoes to walk on water, which may help in the design of biomimetic structures, such as aquatic robots and small boats.

"The current analyses deepen our understanding of the mechanisms of water-walking of these aquatic insects," said Jianlin Liu, a professor in the Department of Engineering Mechanics at the China University of Petroleum. They describe their current research in the journal AIP Advances, from AIP Publishing.

Mosquitoes land on still bodies of water to lay their eggs just under the surface, where the embryos will hatch and develop into a pupa, eventually emerging from the water as a mature adult to continue the cycle.

A mosquito leg consists of three segments coated in grid-like, microscopic hydrophobic scales: a stiff femur juts out from the insect's abdomen and connects at a joint to an equally stiff tibia, which branches into a long, flexible tarsus. Previous measurements of the ability of water surfaces to support insects had largely ignored the tarsus, however, focusing instead on whole legs.

The researchers measured the buoyant force produced by the tarsus by adhering a mosquito leg to a steel needle, which was attached to an indenter column and microsensor. This in-situ setup allowed them to adjust the angle and force between the leg and the water's surface, while taking readings with an optical microscope and digital camera.

Liu and his colleagues found that the insect's ability to float on water - generating an upward force of twenty times its own body weight with its six legs - is owed entirely to the tarsus's buoyant horizontal contact with the surface.

"This finding overthrows the classical viewpoint that the longer the mosquito leg, the more efficiently it produces buoyant force," Liu said.

By reducing the total surface area of the leg in contact with water, the adhesive force of the water on the insect is greatly reduced, which assists in takeoff.

The structural ability of the tarsus to achieve such a large supporting force per unit length, however, remains an ongoing research endeavor for the team. Future work for Liu and his colleagues involves studying the microstructures, wet adhesive forces and dynamic behavior of mosquito legs.

The article, "Load-bearing ability of the mosquito tarsus on water surfaces arising from its flexibility,” is authored by Xiang-qing Kong, Jianlin Liu, Wen-jiao Zhang and Qu Yandong. It will appear in the journal AIP Advances on March 3, 2015 (DOI: 10.1063/1.4908027). After that date, it can be accessed at: http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/adva/5/3/10.1063/1.4908027

ABOUT THE JOURNAL

AIP Advances is a fully open access, online-only, peer-reviewed journal. It covers all areas of applied physical sciences. With its advanced web 2.0 functionality, the journal puts relevant content and discussion tools in the hands of the community to shape the direction of the physical sciences. See http://aipadvances.aip.org

Contact Information
Jason Socrates Bardi
+1 240-535-4954
jbardi@aip.org

Jason Socrates Bardi | newswise

Further reports about: AIP Petroleum adhesive aquatic float insects mosquito mosquitoes ongoing research surfaces water surfaces

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers
20.09.2017 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht New quantum phenomena in graphene superlattices
19.09.2017 | Graphene Flagship

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

Im Focus: Fast, convenient & standardized: New lab innovation for automated tissue engineering & drug

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.

MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...

Im Focus: Silencing bacteria

HZI researchers pave the way for new agents that render hospital pathogens mute

Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Molecular Force Sensors

20.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Producing electricity during flight

20.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

20.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>