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Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering
  Volume 4, Number 1, March 2019 , pages 009-20
DOI: https://doi.org/10.12989/bme.2019.4.1.009
 

Small creatures can lift more than their own bodyweight and a human cannot-an explanation through structural mechanics
Balamonica K, T. Jothi Saravanan, C. Bharathi Priya and N. Gopalakrishnan

 
Abstract
    Living beings are formed of advanced biological and mechanical systems which exist for millions of years. It is known that various animals and insects right from small ants to huge whales have different weight carrying capacities, which is generally expressed as a ratio of their own bodyweights i.e., Strength to Bodyweight Ratio (SBR). The puzzle is that when a rhinoceros beetle (scientific name: Dynastinae) can carry 850 times its own bodyweight, why a man cannot accomplish the same feat. There are intrinsic biological and mechanical reasons related to their capacities, as per biomechanics. Yet, there are underlining principles of engineering and structural mechanics which tend to solve this puzzle. The paper attempts to give a plausible answer for this puzzle through structural mechanics and experimental modeling techniques. It is based on the fact that smaller an animal or creature, it has larger value of weight lifting by self-weight ratio. The simple example of steel prism model discussed in this paper, show that smaller the physical model size, larger is its SBR value. To normalize this, the basic length of the model need to be considered and when multiplied with SBR, a constant is arrived. Hence, the aim of the research presented is to derive this constant on a pan-living being spectrum through size/scaling effect.
 
Key Words
    animal behavior; strength to bodyweight ratio; load carrying capacity; biomechanics; structural mechanics; size/scaling effect
 
Address
Balamonica K: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, National University of Singapore, Singapore
T. Jothi Saravanan: Department of Civil Engineering, Yokohama National University, Japan
C. Bharathi Priya: CSIR-Structural Engineering Research Center, India
N. Gopalakrishnan: CSIR- Central Building Research Institute, Roorkee, India
 

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