Bumpy Beetle Wings Inspire Engineers

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Bumpy beetle wings inspire engineers, according to a report in New Scientist online news 8 May 2006. The Namib desert beetle has wings covered with water-attracting bumps. In between the bumps the wing surface is covered with a strongly water-repelling wax. This combination of bumps and wax enables the beetle to collect water from the fogs that blow across the desert. The bumps attract droplets of water, which gradually build up until they are large enough to roll off the bumps and across the waxy surface to the beetle’s mouth. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed a way to copy the beetle’s method of condensing and channelling fluids by laying down water-attracting polymers in a pattern over a layer of a water-repelling Teflon-like substance. By changing the pattern of water-attracting bumps the scientists can control the flow of liquid over the surface. The US military are interested in using the method to design self-decontaminating surfaces. Other scientists suggest it could be used to control the flow of cooling fluids over microchips or make fluid flow through chemical sensing devices without needing a pump.

Editorial Comment:If these scientists are able to design fluid controlling devices using the design copied from the beetle wings they will have proven that it took creative design and precision engineering to make the beetle wing surface. The beetle wing is not the only water collecting device used by organisms that live in deserts. Cactus spines also collect water and let it drip onto their roots. Biologists claim that this kind of water collection device evolved so that animals and plants could survive in the desert. However, this method of collecting water would have been very effective in the good world described in Genesis 1 and 2:4-6, which tells us the ground was watered by a daily mist that rose up from the earth. (Ref. bio-engineering, insects, design)

Evidence News 31st May 2006

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