Title page for ETD etd-06212010-163917

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author King, Raymond John
Author's Email Address kingrj05@vt.edu
URN etd-06212010-163917
Title Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Resilin
Degree Master of Science
Department Engineering Science and Mechanics
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dudek, Daniel M. Committee Chair
Dillard, David A. Committee Member
Moore, Robert B. Committee Member
  • Dragonfly
  • Resilin
  • Time-temperature superposition
  • Dynamic mechanical analysis
  • Insect flight efficiency
  • Time-concentration superposition
Date of Defense 2010-06-18
Availability unrestricted
Resilin is an almost perfect elastic protein found in many insects. It can be stretched up to 300% of its resting length and is not affected by creep or stress relaxation. While much is known about the static mechanical properties of resilin, it is most often used dynamically by insects. Unfortunately, the dynamic mechanical properties of resilin over the biologically relevant frequency range are unknown. Here, nearly pure samples of resilin were obtained from the dragonfly, Libellua luctuosa, and dynamic mechanical analysis was performed with a combination of time-temperature and time-concentration superposition to push resilin through its glass transition. The tensile properties for resilin were found over five different ethanol concentrations (65, 70, 82, 86 and 90% by volume in water) between temperatures of -5°C and 60°C, allowing for the quantification of resilin’s dynamic mechanical properties over the entire master curve. The glass transition frequency of resilin in water at 22°C was found to be 106.3 Hz. The rubber storage modulus was 1.6 MPa, increasing to 30 MPa in the glassy state. At 50 Hz and 35% strain over 98% of the elastic strain energy can returned each cycle, decreasing to 81% at the highest frequencies used by insects (13 kHz). However, despite its remarkable ability to store and return energy, the resilin tendon in dragonflies does not act to improve the energetic efficiency of flight or as a power amplifying spring. Rather, it likely functions to passively control and stabilize the trailing edge of each wing during flight.
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