Dynamic Mechanical Properties of Resilin
King, Raymond John
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Resilin is an almost perfect elastic protein found in many insects. It can be stretched up to 300% of its resting length and is not affected by creep or stress relaxation. While much is known about the static mechanical properties of resilin, it is most often used dynamically by insects. Unfortunately, the dynamic mechanical properties of resilin over the biologically relevant frequency range are unknown. Here, nearly pure samples of resilin were obtained from the dragonfly, Libellua luctuosa, and dynamic mechanical analysis was performed with a combination of time-temperature and time-concentration superposition to push resilin through its glass transition. The tensile properties for resilin were found over five different ethanol concentrations (65, 70, 82, 86 and 90% by volume in water) between temperatures of -5Â°C and 60Â°C, allowing for the quantification of resilinâ s dynamic mechanical properties over the entire master curve. The glass transition frequency of resilin in water at 22Â°C was found to be 106.3 Hz. The rubber storage modulus was 1.6 MPa, increasing to 30 MPa in the glassy state. At 50 Hz and 35% strain over 98% of the elastic strain energy can returned each cycle, decreasing to 81% at the highest frequencies used by insects (13 kHz). However, despite its remarkable ability to store and return energy, the resilin tendon in dragonflies does not act to improve the energetic efficiency of flight or as a power amplifying spring. Rather, it likely functions to passively control and stabilize the trailing edge of each wing during flight.
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