Experimental studies of the material properties of the forewing of cicada (Homóptera, Cicàdidae).

Research paper by F F Song, K L KL Lee, A K AK Soh, F F Zhu, Y L YL Bai

Indexed on: 28 Jul '04Published on: 28 Jul '04Published in: The Journal of experimental biology


Detailed investigations on the structural and mechanical properties of the forewing of the cicada were carried out. Measurement of the structures of the wings showed that the thickness of the membrane of each cell and the diameter of each vein were non-uniform in both the longitudinal and transverse directions, and their means were approximately 12.2 and 133.3 microm, respectively. However, the aspect ratios of the wings and the bodies were quite uniform and were approximately equal to 2.98 and 2.13, respectively. Based on the measured thickness, mass and area of the membranes of the cells, the mean density and the mean area density of the wing were approximately 2.3 g cm(-3) and 2.8x10(-3) g cm(-2), respectively. In addition, the diameters of the veins of the wings, including the diameters of the holes in the vein of the leading edge, were examined. The mechanical properties of the wing were investigated separately by nanoindentation and tensile testing. The results indicated that the mean Young's modulus, hardness and yield stress of the membranes of the wings were approximately 3.7 GPa, 0.2 GPa and 29 MPa, respectively, and the mean Young's modulus and strength of the veins along the direction of the venation of wings were approximately 1.9 GPa and 52 MPa, respectively. Finally, the relevant results were briefly analyzed and discussed, providing a guideline to the biomimetic design of the aerofoil materials of micro air vehicles.