An Indestructible Beetle

by | Oct 31, 2020


Scientists are working to build stronger planes and buildings—all thanks to an indestructible bug.

There’s a new beetle in town, named the Diabolical Ironclad Beetle. It can survive being pecked by a bird, stepped on, even rolled over by a truck.

So what’s its secret? Scientists say the beetle’s strength comes from its unusual armor, layered and pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. Scientists say this happened over time and now the inch-long beetle can withstand a force 39,000 times its own weight. When more force is applied, the beetle doesn’t snap all at once. Instead, it slowly fractures.

Scientists say this information is helpful to engineers who design aircraft, other vehicles and buildings. Right now, they rely on pins, bolts and welding to hold everything together—things that degrade over time.

Thanks to the study of the beetle, they are now looking at steel, plastic and plaster, part of an $8 million project funded by the Air Force.

Besides the beetle, scientists are looking at creatures such as Mantis Shrimp and Bighorn Sheep. Who knows what superpowers they’re hiding?

Brian Banmiller

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CBS News Radio national business journalist Brian Banmiller has spent more than 40 years in the news industry, covering business, politics and the economy on television, radio and in print. Currently, his “Banmiller on Business” reports are delivered to an audience of millions nationwide.

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