383923 Self-Healing of Ant Clusters

Monday, November 17, 2014: 1:30 PM
M304 (Marriott Marquis Atlanta)
Tanvi Dave, Biomedical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Snellville, GA, Sulisay Phonekeo, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA and David L. Hu, Mechanical Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology

Fire ants (solenopsis invicta) use their legs with hooks, sticky pads, and their own bodies to connect and form many complex structures such as rafts, bivouacs and bridges. How do these ants use their connections to fix and maintain their structures?  We answer this question by contacting two ant clusters and allowing them to self-heal at different contact times. We observe their methods of repairing and conduct tensile tests on the healed ant structures to characterize its strength and breaking rate. In order to visualize the healing process, we use videography to record the entanglement of the two ant clusters during contact.  This entanglement is quantified by the number of connections made during the tensile testing and we correlate this to the strength of the healed structure. This research can ultimately identify a different class of self-healing material or have applications in swarm robotics.

Extended Abstract: File Uploaded
See more of this Session: Bio-Fluid Dynamics
See more of this Group/Topical: Engineering Sciences and Fundamentals