Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 205, Issue 4, pp 491–504 | Cite as

The art of a hydraulic joint in a spider’s leg: modelling, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation, and bio-inspired design

  • Chunbao Liu
  • Shanshi Chen
  • Chuang Sheng
  • Peng Ding
  • Zhihui QianEmail author
  • Lei RenEmail author
Original Paper


Important aspects of spider locomotion rely on a hydraulic mechanism. So far, this has not been theoretically analysed. In this work, the flow mechanism of a main hydraulic joint in a spider leg was studied. The purpose is to gain insight into a biohydraulic mechanism using an engineering approach to improve our understanding of the hemolymph flow path in the spider’s legs and to contribute to the theoretical analysis of the spider’s hydraulic transmission mechanism, thereby providing an inspiration for advanced biomimetic hydraulic systems. During the study, Micro-CT results were used to reconstruct the detailed flow channel. The high-pressure areas (inlet, joint, and closed leg end) and low pressures in between are also identified. Then, the internal flow field was investigated using computational fluid dynamics. At the same time, the method of dynamic mesh regeneration, elastic smoothing, is used to simulate muscle contraction and joint extension. The different functions of the channels are substantiated by the velocity profiles. Finally, a bionic hydraulic system was designed according to the trajectory of haemolymph in the flow channel.


Bio-inspired Spider Hydraulic transmission Tibia–metatarsus joint CFD 



Computational fluid dynamics





This work was partly supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China [Grant number 51675219], the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation [Grant number 2016M590261] and the Key Scientific and Technological Project of Jilin Province [Grant number 20170204066GX].

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical standards

All procedures performed in studies involving animal care and collection were in accordance with laws, ordinances, and the ethical standards of our institution and government.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Mechanical Science and EngineeringJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil EngineeringUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUK
  3. 3.Key Laboratory of Bionic Engineering, Ministry of EducationJilin UniversityChangchunChina

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