Teflon Outperformed by Natural Beetle Juice

Aug, 2021 - By WMR

Teflon Outperformed by Natural Beetle Juice

In the knee joints of the dark beetles, a natural lubricant was found, a microscopic image showed a peculiar semi-solid lubricant.

Regardless of how good human design has come up, nature, probably has always beaten humans in to it and has done a better job of backing up. The most recent innovations in list are lubricants, where scientists discovered that beetles are naturally lubricating their knees with a weird substance that actually works better than Teflon. The internal joints of vertebrates like the humans are well covered in liquid lubricants. However, insects that have exoskeletons do not have their joints exposed to the outside air. The very way they keep them alarming has largely remained undiscovered.

Scientists from Christian-Albrechts University, Kiel and Aarhus University, wanted to find that out for their new research. The team looked under a scanning electron microscope on the knees of the dark beetle and found the area of femur and tibia have pores that excrete a lubricating material. It is mainly formed of fatty acids and proteins, the team concluded after the chemical testing on the substance. The material was tested as a lubricant then placed between 2 glass surfaces and rubbed together at a range of regular walking speed, load and pressure of a beetle. The sliding friction coefficient for the beetle lube was surely much smaller than for the two glass plates without lube.

Naturally, the vacuum was overtaken on a broad scale and polytetrafluoroethylene with even narrow tubes, commonly referred to as Teflon. There were also strange features of the beetle juice. It is more like a semi-solid than a liquid. It tends to fragment easily when it is ejected from the pores and appears to help cover a broader area more efficiently and penetrate into small gaps. The team states that this organic lubricant may be beneficial for small robots and prostheses that are not particularly well suited for conventional lubricants. Although trying to make the lube out of live beetles is not exactly practical, work can lead to new artificial variants of the actual thing.

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