SCIENCE CHINA Technological Sciences, Volume 63 , Issue 5 : 768-776(2020) https://doi.org/10.1007/s11431-019-1470-5

The flexural property and its synergistic mechanism of multibody molded beetle elytron plates

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  • ReceivedJun 27, 2019
  • AcceptedOct 28, 2019
  • PublishedJan 14, 2020


To improve the applications of beetle elytron plates (BEPs, which are biomimetic sandwich plates inspired by beetle elytra), the flexural performance and its synergistic mechanism of multibody molded BEPs were investigated via cantilever testing and finite element method (FEM). The results are summarized as follows. (1) Although debonding damage causes failure of the multibody molded BEPs and honeycomb plate and the reasonable range of trabecular size for BEPs is narrow, both the optimal loading capacity per mass and failure deformation of the BEPs are over two times those of the honeycomb plate. (2) A flexural synergistic mechanism is revealed in the trabecular-honeycomb core structure of BEPs; this mechanism causes the maximum deformation of core structure to gradually transfer from the honeycomb wall to the trabeculae with the increase in η (the ratio of the trabecular radius to the distance between the center points of two trabeculae), which means the different stretching behaviors in these core structures. (3) Unlike the compressive mechanism of BEPs, by controlling and balancing the deformation degrees of the trabeculae and honeycomb walls, the flexural mechanism achieves a minimum core deformation and an optimal flexural performance. These results suggest a qualitative relationship between the deformation behavior of trabecular-honeycomb core structure and bending performance of the whole BEP, and provide a solid foundation for subsequent research and the considerable application potential of this biomimetic sandwich structure in many fields.

Funded by

the National Natural Science Foundation of China(Grant,Nos.,51875102,51578136)


This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Nos. 51875102, 51578136).


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  • Figure 1

    (Color online) Beetle and elytron microstructure. (a) Adult Allomyrina dichotoma beetle [37]; (b) spatial distribution of trabeculae in an elytron of Allomyrina dichotoma [38]; (c) trabecular structure [38]; (d) simple model of a trabecula [37]. In this figure, trabeculae are indicated by wide arrows, and honeycomb walls are indicated by stars.

  • Figure 2

    (Color online) Development process of the biomimetic models of beetle elytra studied by the authors. (a) A three-dimensional simple model based on the elytra of Allomyrina dichotoma developed in 2000–2003 [34]; (b) and (c) integrated honeycomb plate molding technologies developed from 2008 to 2015 [38,39]; (d) the concept and model of the BEP with a hollow trabecular-honeycomb core structure, developed in 2016 [40,41]. In this figure, trabeculae are indicated by wide arrows.

  • Figure 3

    (Color online) Sandwich plate dimensions and experimental setup. (a) Overall size of the sandwich plates; (b) structure and size of the core layer; the trabecular-honeycomb core structure of the BEP with η=0.25 is taken as an example, and the range marked by the red box is a basic unit structure; (c) basic unit structure of the core when η is 0 (honeycomb plate), 0.1, 0.2, 0.25, 0.3 and 0.4 (BEPs); (d) experimental setup and loading diagram for cantilever bending testing. In this figure, R refers to the distance from the center of a trabecula to the centerline of a trabecular wall (with units of mm), and A-A refers to the middle section of the loading span in the X direction.

  • Figure 4

    (Color online) Schematic diagrams of a sandwich plate (the structure marked by the blue dotted line in Figure 3(d) is used as an example, wherein η=0.25 for the BEP). (a) Schematic diagram of a sandwich plate; (b) stress state of core structure in the A-A section; (c) tensile deformation of the contact surface of the upper skin and core structure in the A-A section.

  • Figure 5

    (Color online) (a) Loading diagram for analyzing the stretching behaviors of a unit column structure in the core layer and the uniform load distribution in a BEP with η=0.25; (b) loading values (q) and the corresponding core structures. The height of the analysis model is 1 mm in the Z direction.

  • Figure 6

    (Color online) Experimental and failure processes of sandwich plates, wherein the BEP with η=0.25 is used as an example. (a) Bending test of a BEP; (b) debonding failure between the core layer and the skin.

  • Figure 7

    (Color online) Load-displacement curves and mechanical properties of the BEPs and honeycomb plate under cantilever bending conditions. (a) Load-displacement curves of the sandwich plates; (b) their relative flexural performances, wherein the LPM and failure deformation of the honeycomb plate (η=0) are taken as reference. The relative performance (%) refers to the increase in the bending properties of the BEP relative to that of the honeycomb plate.

  • Figure 8

    (Color online) (a)–(c) The FEM results of the stretching behavior of the core layer with different η values and symmetrical structures, wherein the amplification factor of the deformation is 100. (d), (e) Deformation analysis of the honeycomb wall in the range indicated by the green frame when η=0 and 0.25; (f) angle analysis between honeycomb walls 1 and 2 before and after deformation, from bottom to top: undeformed 120° angle and angles between honeycomb walls 1 and 2 after deformation when η=0.25 and 0.

  • Figure 9

    (Color online) Maximum deformation curves of the trabecula, honeycomb wall and their combination obtained by the FEM simulations. The maximum deformation of the trabecula refers to the difference between the maximum secant of the deformed trabecula passing through the original center and the original diameter. The maximum deformation of the honeycomb wall refers to its maximum lateral deformation, excluding the displacement caused by the trabecular deformation. The calculation rule of the combined value is (the deformation of the trabeculae × its volume percentage) + (the deformation of the honeycomb wall × its volume percentage) at different values of η. The table shows the volume and corresponding percentage of the trabeculae and honeycomb wall to the total volume of the core structure, wherein V refers to volume (unit: cm3) and P refers to the percentage for each part (unit: %).

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