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6 March 2014 1:04 pm ,
Vol. 343 ,
Antiretroviral drugs can protect people from becoming infected by HIV. But so-called pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP...
Two studies show that eating a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates is linked to a longer, healthier life, and...
Considered an icon of conservation science, researchers at World Wildlife Fund (WWF) headquarters in Washington, D.C.,...
The new atlas, which shows the distribution of important trace metals and other substances, is the first product of...
Early in April, the first of a fleet of environmental monitoring satellites will lift off from Europe's spaceport in...
Since 2000, U.S. government health research agencies have spent almost $1 billion on an effort to churn out thousands...
Magdalena Koziol, a former postdoc at Yale University, was the victim of scientific sabotage. Now, she is suing the...
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Video: Why Insect Wings Don't Fracture
23 August 2012 12:20 pm
How can an insect's gossamer wings survive the stresses of flexing, twisting, bending, and flapping millions of times? Tests similar to those used to analyze aircraft parts reveal that the secret lies in the wings’ veins. Researchers mounted sections from the rear wings of lab-raised desert locusts—Schistocerca gregaria, an insect pest famed for migrations lasting several days and covering several thousand kilometers—into tiny frames and stretched the wings until they cracked (see video). Unsurprisingly, the membrane between veins, which ranges from a mere 1.7 to 3.7 micrometers thick and is mainly composed of cross-linked proteins, had little resistance to the propagation of cracks. But when cracks reached a wing vein, their growth typically slowed or stopped. Overall, veins boosted a wing’s resistance to crack growth by about 50%, the researchers report online this week in PLoS ONE. Although scientists have previously proposed that the veins might act as barriers to crack growth, the new tests are the first to support the notion. The new findings could help engineers to better design light yet strong and durable wings for small flying vehicles that could be used for reconnaissance, for example, or operated in environments too dangerous for people and inaccessible to ground vehicles.
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