Structural and Physical Characterization of Insect Flow Systems

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation characterizes the geometry, kinematics, and physical properties of insect internal structures that make up the respiratory and circulatory systems. This characterization is necessary to better understand how these systems function to transport fluids at the microscale, and ultimately, how we might computationally model this flow. Chapter 2 describes the geometry of the insect tracheal system, specifically testing if Murray's law applies to this system using three-dimensional imaging of tracheal tubes. Chapter 3 begins to characterize the physical properties of insect hemolymph, specifically the viscosity and density of hemolymph, using experimental measurements. Because insects are strongly affected by environmental temperature, this chapter also explores how hemolymph viscosity may be affected by temperature. Chapter 4 builds on the results of Chapter 3, exploring the effects of developmental responses to temperature on hemolymph viscosity and properties, as well as performance of the insect using experimental measurements. Finally, Chapter 5 presents a kinematic and structural characterization of the insect heart using a variety of imaging techniques and analyses.

Insect, Respiration, Murray's Law, Circulation, Hemolymph, Viscosity, Dorsal Vessel