SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 62, Issue 1: 87-93(2019) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-018-9290-1

Beetle elytron plate and the synergistic mechanism of a trabecular- honeycomb core structure

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  • ReceivedMar 12, 2018
  • AcceptedMay 16, 2018
  • PublishedOct 18, 2018


For the development of lightweight biomimetic materials, the compressive properties of the beetle elytron plate (BEP, a type of biomimetic sandwich plate inspired from beetle elytra) and the underlying mechanism thereof were investigated. With the following results: (1) The shared mechanism of trabeculae was revealed by using structural analysis. It is further predicted that a BEP with hollow trabeculae should possess enhanced compressive properties. (2) When the trabecular number (N) in a hexagonal unit of the honeycomb is less than three, the compressive strength of the BEP is rapidly increased with the increment of N. When N is over four, the deformation capacity is significantly improved because of the arising of S-type buckling deformation in the core structure of the BEP. Furthermore, the definition of the BEP is proposed combined with the biological structure of the beetle elytra. (3) When N=6 and the external diameter of trabeculae is equal to the length of honeycomb walls, the synergistic mechanism between the trabeculae and the honeycomb walls in BEPs is fully exerted. Namely, the trabecula restricts the deformation of the honeycomb walls; in turn, the honeycomb walls provide lateral support for the trabecula. This mechanism leads the core in the BEP to generate an S-type global buckling deformation producing the best compressive properties. The results will greatly impact the biomimetic field of beetle elytra and many industries in which honeycomb structure also serves as a key component.

Funded by

The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,No.,51875102)


The work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51875102).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) The overall dimensions and the core structures of the sandwich plates. (a) The overall dimensions; (b) some of the core structure and trabecular distribution (N=0, 2, 4 and 5) are shown here for a convenient arrangement; (c) η=0.1, 0.2, 0.3, 0.4 when N=6. The thickness (t) of the honeycomb walls is equal to the wall thickness of the trabeculae. η=r/L, where r denotes the external radius of the trabeculae, and L denotes the distance between the central points in the adjacent intersection of honeycomb walls. The unit is mm.

  • Figure 2

    The analysis of the shared mechanism in the BEP core structure. (a) The analysis unit of BEP; (b) the analysis unit of HP. Among them, (a1, b1) displays a honeycomb unit of core structure in sandwich plates; (a2, b2) is an enlarged view of the region inside the rectangular outline in (a1, b1); and (a3, b3) is the analysis of the shared mechanism.

  • Figure 3

    Experimental results of the sandwich plates with N from 0 to 6. (a) Stress-strain curves of the core structures in different sandwich plates; (b)–(d) compressive deformations of the sandwich plates with N=0, 3 and 6.

  • Figure 4

    The experimental results for compressive testing of sandwich plates when η is varied from 0–0.4. (a) Stress-strain curves; (b) the ratio obtained by dividing the compressive strength and energy absorption of the BEPs by that of the HP, where the lines show the curves of best fit.

  • Figure 5

    The deformation of the core structure in BEPs and the HP with different η. (a) η=0, HP. (b)–(d) BEPs: (1) and (2) are the 3D model of part of the core structure, and (3) is the experimental sample. LR is lateral restraint, and La is the arch length.

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