Watch: Ironclad diabolical beetles can withstand weight of a car

Researchers looked at how ironclad diabolical beetles can withstand the pressure of being run over by a car. Credit: Kisailus Biomimetics and Nanostructured Materials Lab, University of California, Irvine

Ironclad diabolical beetles have a puzzling ability to withstand the pressure of being run over by a car without getting squished. According to new research, the beetles (Phloeodes diabolicus) use a puzzle-piece like structure in their exoskeletons that keeps their hard shell together when under intense pressure. The insects also have ridges on their back, which are flexible and can move without actually coming apart. The discovery of how these beetles resist getting squished is informing the construction of aircraft materials, which sometimes get fractures or corroded.  “The interfacial sutures of the diabolical ironclad beetle provide a robust and more predictable failure that could help solve these problems,” said Maryam Hosseini, who worked on this project as a PhD student and postdoctoral researcher, in a press release.