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

  • 1 Accesses


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.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Access options

Buy single article

Instant unlimited access to the full article PDF.

US$ 39.95

Price includes VAT for USA


  1. 1

    Allen H G. Analysis and Design of Structural Sandwich Panels. Oxford: Pergamon Press, 1969

  2. 2

    Lira C, Scarpa F. Transverse shear stiffness of thickness gradient honeycombs. Compos Sci Tech, 2010, 70: 930–936

  3. 3

    Hou Y, Tai Y H, Lira C, et al. The bending and failure of sandwich structures with auxetic gradient cellular cores. Compos Part A-Appl Sci Manufacturing, 2013, 49: 119–131

  4. 4

    Imbalzano G, Linforth S, Ngo T D, et al. Blast resistance of auxetic and honeycomb sandwich panels: Comparisons and parametric designs. Composite Struct, 2017, 183: 242–261

  5. 5

    Herrmann A S, Zahlen P C, Zuardy I, et al. Sandwich structures technology in commercial aviation. In: Sandwich Structures 7: Advancing with Sandwich Structures and Materials. Dordrecht: Springer, 2005. 13–26

  6. 6

    Taylor E A, Glanville J P, Clegg R A, et al. Hypervelocity impact on spacecraft honeycomb: Hydrocode simulation and damage laws. Int J Impact Eng, 2003, 29: 691–702

  7. 7

    Xiao Y, Hu Y, Zhang J, et al. The bending responses of sandwich panels with aluminium honeycomb core and CFRP skins used in electric vehicle body. Adv Mater Sci Eng, 2018, 2018: 1–11

  8. 8

    Wang J, Shi C, Yang N, et al. Strength, stiffness, and panel peeling strength of carbon fiber-reinforced composite sandwich structures with aluminum honeycomb cores for vehicle body. Composite Struct, 2018, 184: 1189–1196

  9. 9

    Magnucki K. Bending of symmetrically sandwich beams and I-beams —Analytical study. Int J Mech Sci, 2019, 150: 411–419

  10. 10

    Zhao C Q, Ma J, Du S C. The mechanical behaviour of new long-span hollow-core roofs based on aluminum alloy honeycomb panels. Materiali in Tehnologije, 2019, 53: 311–318

  11. 11

    Hering G K. Method and device for joining sections of thermoplastic continuous web material. US Patent No. 7559351B2, 2009

  12. 12

    Smardzewski J, Słonina M, Maslej M. Stiffness and failure behaviour of wood based honeycomb sandwich corner joints in different climates. Composite Struct, 2017, 168: 153–163

  13. 13

    Sun G, Huo X, Chen D, et al. Experimental and numerical study on honeycomb sandwich panels under bending and in-panel compression. Mater Des, 2017, 133: 154–168

  14. 14

    Sahu S K, Badgayan N D, Samanta S, et al. Influence of cell size on out of plane stiffness and in-plane compliance character of the sandwich beam made with tunable PCTPE nylon honeycomb core and hybrid polymer nanocomposite skin. Int J Mech Sci, 2018, 148: 284–292

  15. 15

    Smardzewski J, Kramski D. Modelling stiffness of furniture manufactured from honeycomb panels depending on changing climate conditions. Thin-Walled Struct, 2019, 137: 295–302

  16. 16

    Wang Y C, Foster A. Experimental and numerical study of temperature developments in PIR core sandwich panels with joint. Fire Saf J, 2017, 90: 1–14

  17. 17

    Yaseer Omar M, Xiang C, Gupta N, et al. Syntactic foam core metal matrix sandwich composite: Compressive properties and strain rate effects. Mater Sci Eng-A, 2015, 643: 156–168

  18. 18

    Shunmugasamy V C, Mansoor B. Aluminum foam sandwich with density-graded open-cell core: Compressive and flexural response. Mater Sci Eng-A, 2018, 731: 220–230

  19. 19

    Sun G, Wang E, Wang H, et al. Low-velocity impact behaviour of sandwich panels with homogeneous and stepwise graded foam cores. Mater Des, 2018, 160: 1117–1136

  20. 20

    Chiras S, Mumm D R, Evans A G, et al. The structural performance of near-optimized truss core panels. Int J Solids Struct, 2002, 39: 4093–4115

  21. 21

    Arunkumar M, Pitchaimani J, Gangadharan K. Bending and free vibration analysis of foam-filled truss core sandwich panel. J Sandwich Struct Mater, 2018, 20: 617–638

  22. 22

    Xu J, Wu Y, Wang L, et al. Compressive properties of hollow lattice truss reinforced honeycombs (Honeytubes) by additive manufacturing: Patterning and tube alignment effects. Mater Des, 2018, 156: 446–457

  23. 23

    Zhao X, Gao Q, Wang L, et al. Dynamic crushing of double-arrowed auxetic structure under impact loading. Mater Des, 2018, 160: 527–537

  24. 24

    Balci O, Çoban O, Bora M Ö, et al. Experimental investigation of single and repeated impacts for repaired honeycomb sandwich structures. Mater Sci Eng-A, 2017, 682: 23–30

  25. 25

    Imbalzano G, Tran P, Ngo T D, et al. Three-dimensional modelling of auxetic sandwich panels for localised impact resistance. J Sandwich Struct Mater, 2017, 19: 291–316

  26. 26

    Ha N S, Lu G, Xiang X. Energy absorption of a bio-inspired honeycomb sandwich panel. J Mater Sci, 2019, 54: 6286–6300

  27. 27

    Fratzl P, Weinkamer R. Nature’s hierarchical materials. Prog Mater Sci, 2007, 52: 1263–1334

  28. 28

    Tao Y, Li W, Wei K, et al. Mechanical properties and energy absorption of 3D printed square hierarchical honeycombs under in-plane axial compression. Compos Part B-Eng, 2019, 176: 107219

  29. 29

    Chen Y, Li T, Jia Z, et al. 3d printed hierarchical honeycombs with shape integrity under large compressive deformations. Mater Des, 2018, 137: 226–234

  30. 30

    Tsang H H, Raza S. Impact energy absorption of bio-inspired tubular sections with structural hierarchy. Composite Struct, 2018, 195: 199–210

  31. 31

    Sun J, Wu W, Song Z, et al. Bio-inspirations for the development of light materials based on the nanomechanical properties and microstructures of beetle dynastes tityus. J Bionic Eng, 2019, 16: 154–163

  32. 32

    Noh M Y, Muthukrishnan S, Kramer K J, et al. Development and ultrastructure of the rigid dorsal and flexible ventral cuticles of the elytron of the red flour beetle, tribolium castaneum. Insect Biochem Mol Biol, 2017, 91: 21–33

  33. 33

    Parker A R, Welch V L, Driver D, et al. Opal analogue discovered in a weevil. Nature, 2003, 426: 786–787

  34. 34

    Chen J X, Ni Q Q. Three dimensional composite structures in the fore-wing of beetles. Acta Mater Compos Sin, 2003, 20: 61–66

  35. 35

    Linz D M, Hu A W, Sitvarin M I, et al. Functional value of elytra under various stresses in the red flour beetle, tribolium castaneum. Sci Rep, 2016, 6: 34813

  36. 36

    Le T Q, Truong T V, Tran H T, et al. How could Beetle’s Elytra support their own weight during forward flight? J Bionic Eng, 2014, 11: 529–540

  37. 37

    Chen J, Wu G. Beetle forewings: Epitome of the optimal design for lightweight composite materials. Carbohydrate Polyms, 2013, 91: 659–665

  38. 38

    Chen J, Zu Q, Wu G, et al. Review of beetle forewing structures and their biomimetic applications in China: (II) On the three-dimensional structure, modeling and imitation. Mater Sci Eng-C, 2015, 55: 620–633

  39. 39

    Zhang X, Liu C, Chen J, et al. The influence mechanism of processing holes on the flexural properties of biomimetic integrated honeycomb plates. Mater Sci Eng-C, 2016, 69: 798–803

  40. 40

    Chen J, Zhang X, Okabe Y, et al. The deformation mode and strengthening mechanism of compression in the beetle elytron plate. Mater Des, 2017, 131: 481–486

  41. 41

    Chen J X, Zhang X M, Okabe Y, et al. Beetle elytron plate and the synergistic mechanism of a trabecular-honeycomb core structure. Sci China Tech Sci, 2019, 62: 87–93

  42. 42

    Zhang X, Chen J, Okabe Y, et al. Compression properties of metal beetle elytron plates and the elementary unit of the trabecular-honeycomb core structure. J Sandwich Struct Mater, 2019, 21: 2031–2041

  43. 43

    Zhang X, Chen J, Okabe Y, et al. Influence of honeycomb dimensions and forming methods on the compressive properties of beetle elytron plates. J Sandwich Struct Mater, 2020, 22: 28–39

  44. 44

    Yu X, Pan L, Chen J, et al. Experimental and numerical study on the energy absorption abilities of trabecular-honeycomb biomimetic structures inspired by beetle elytra. J Mater Sci, 2019, 54: 2193–2204

  45. 45

    Xiang J, Du J. Energy absorption characteristics of bio-inspired honeycomb structure under axial impact loading. Mater Sci Eng-A, 2017, 696: 283–289

  46. 46

    Hao P, Du J. Energy absorption characteristics of bio-inspired honeycomb column thin-walled structure under impact loading. J Mech Behav BioMed Mater, 2018, 79: 301–308

  47. 47

    Xu M, Pan L, Chen J, et al. The flexural properties of end-trabecular beetle elytron plates and their flexural failure mechanism. J Mater Sci, 2019, 54: 8414–8425

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to JinXiang Chen.

Additional information

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

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yu, X., Zhang, X., Chen, J. et al. The flexural property and its synergistic mechanism of multibody molded beetle elytron plates. Sci. China Technol. Sci. (2020) doi:10.1007/s11431-019-1470-5

Download citation

  • beetle elytra
  • BEP
  • biomimetic structure
  • sandwich structure
  • honeycomb plate
  • flexural property