Scientists have explained how insects breathe underwater


16/08/2008

Hundreds of species of insects spend most of their time underwater, where production more numerous and diverse. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT) now know exactly how those insects breathe underwater.

Plunging into the water, insect captures with a thin layer of air on the body, using a water-repellent chitinous shell. This air bubble is not just a source of oxygen for the insect, it also allows you to absorb oxygen directly from the surrounding water.

"Some insects have adapted to life underwater by using this bubble as an external lung," - said John Bush (John Bush) - Associate Professor of Applied Mathematics, co-author of a recent study.

According to the study, due to air bubbles, insects can not only stay underwater indefinitely, but also to dive to a depth of 30 meters. Some species of insects, such as water beetles Neoplea striola, carried out under the water all winter.

This phenomenon was first observed many years ago, but researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are the first who was able to calculate the maximum depth and describe how the bubbles remain intact when immersed at such depths, where the pressure can break them.

The stability of an air bubble caused by water-repellent hairs on the abdomen of the insect. The hairs, along with a waxy coating shell, prevent water flooding the tiny ventilation holes on the abdomen.

The distance between the hairs critical: the hairs closer to each other, the higher mechanical stability and the higher the pressure bladder can withstand before failure. However, for the mechanical stability of the bubble have to pay. If the hairs are too close to each other, decreasing the surface area needed for breathing.

The researchers developed a mathematical model that takes these factors into account and allows them to predict the range of possible dive depths. They found that there is not only a maximum depth, after which the bubble is destroyed, but the minimum depth, above which the bubble can provide insect respiratory needs.

The researchers found that the insects can dive to a depth of 30 meters. However, they are seldom risk go deeper than a few meters due to environmental factors such as amount of sunlight, the presence of production and the presence of predators.

The study prompted other scientists to think such a system to develop an external light on a large scale for possible use in human beings. However, the surface area required to sustain breathing one person would be about 100 square meters, which is extremely impractical. However, there are other areas of technological application. For example, such a device could deliver the oxygen needed fuel cells to power small autonomous underwater craft. Most popular news informers tell the main news of the day.

Original: Sciencedaily


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