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Cicada Wings May Inspire New Surface Technologies

Cicada-wing bioinspiration

The wings of Megatibicen dorsatus, a prairie-dwelling cicada, are helping engineers design water-repellent surfaces.

August 28, 2017 | Source: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, news.illinois.edu, 2 Aug 2017, Lois Yoksoulian

Researchers are looking to insects – specifically cicadas – for insight into the design of artificial surfaces with de-icing, self-cleaning and anti-fogging abilities. 

Their wings allow cicadas to fly, of course, but they also are good at repelling water – a condition that humans can appreciate, too.  

“Our work with cicadas is letting us explore a field called bioinspiration,” said Nenad Miljkovic, a University of Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor who co-led a new study of cicada wings. “We are learning as much as we can from the natural design of cicada wings to engineer artificial objects that are useful to humans.”

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