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Discovery that Insects Can Walk Underwater using Bubbles

Application to Clean Underwater Adhesion

2012.08.07
(2012.08.23 Update)


National Institute for Materials Science

A team headed by Dr. Naoe Hosoda, a Group Leader in the NIMS Hybrid Materials Unit, in research on the excellent adhesive properties displayed by the feet of insects, discovered that leaf beetles, which are terrestrial insects that live mainly in the atmosphere, can walk underwater by using bubbles.

Abstract

A team headed by Dr. Naoe Hosoda, Group Leader of the Interconnection Design Group, Hybrid Materials Unit (Unit Director: Yutaka Kagawa), National Institute for Materials Science (President: Sukekatsu Ushioda), is engaged in research and development of “Future joining technology for reversible interconnection” as an environment-friendly technology which will be necessary in a resource circulation society.
In research on the feet of insects, which display excellent adhesive properties, the NIMS team and Prof. S. N. Gorb of Kiel University, Germany, discovered that leaf beetles (Gastrophysa viridula), which are terrestrial insects that normally live in the atmosphere, can also walk underwater by trapping bubbles with the adhesive setae on their feet.
Dr. Hosoda and her team clarified the mechanism which makes this possible and developed an artificial silicone polymer structure with underwater adhesion properties. This achievement is expected to be developed as an environment-friendly technology and is also considered applicable to clean underwater adhesion without using chemical substances that impact the environment.
This result will be published in the influential English scientific journal “Proceedings of the Royal Society B” on Wednesday, August 8 at 8:01a.m. Japan time.

"Fig:(a) Photo showing the bottom side of the foot of a leaf beetle fixed underwater (photographed from back side). The dots of color black shows the foot of the beetle (adhesive setae); white shows bubbles. (b)Schematic diagram of the mechanism by which the beetle’s feet fixed underwater using bubbles." Image

Fig:(a) Photo showing the bottom side of the foot of a leaf beetle fixed underwater (photographed from back side). The dots of color black shows the foot of the beetle (adhesive setae); white shows bubbles. (b)Schematic diagram of the mechanism by which the beetle’s feet fixed underwater using bubbles.




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