Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Materials Science and Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Konstantin Kornev

Committee Member

Dr. Igor Luzinov

Committee Member

Dr. Jeffery Owens

Committee Member

Dr. Ulf Schiller


Nature is frequently turned to for inspiration for the creation of new materials. Insect antennae are hollow, blood-filled fibers with complex shape, and are cantilevered at the head. The antenna is muscle-free, but the insect can controllably flex, twist, and maneuver it laterally. To explain this behavior, a comparative study of structural and tensile properties of the antennae of Periplaneta americana (American cockroach), Manduca sexta (Carolina hawkmoth), and Vanessa cardui (painted lady butterfly) was performed. These antennae demonstrate a range of distinguishable tensile properties, responding either as brittle fibers (Manduca sexta) or strain-adaptive fibers that stiffen when stretched (Vanessa cardui and Periplaneta americana). Scanning electron microscopy and high-speed imaging of antennal breakup during stretching and impact test revealed hidden features of complex coupling of blood pressure and cuticle deformation. A generalized Lamé theory of solid mechanics was developed to include the force-driven deformation of blood-filled antennal tubes. Using drinking straws filled with water, the theory was validated against experiments with no adjustable parameters. A novel device to characterize the damping and elastic properties of fibers and insect antennae was designed and built. This Thesis offers promising new applications for multifunctional fiber-based microfluidics that could transport fluids and be manipulated by the same fluid on demand.

Author ORCID Identifier




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