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Concept: Mechanics


The survival of both the hunter and the hunted often comes down to speed. Yet how fast an animal can run is intricately linked to its size, such that the fastest animals are not the biggest nor the smallest. The ability to maintain high speeds is dependent on the body’s capacity to withstand the high stresses involved with locomotion. Yet even when standing still, scaling principles would suggest that the mechanical stress an animal feels will increase in greater demand than its body can support. So if big animals want to be fast, they must find solutions to overcome these high stresses. This article explores the ways in which extant animals mitigate size-related increases in musculoskeletal stress in an effort to help understand where all the giants have gone.

Concepts: English-language films, Force, Classical mechanics, Extinction, Mechanics, Roger Waters


The combined influence of cyclic fatigue and torsional stress on rotary nickel-titanium instruments has been little investigated. The aim of this study was to determine possible differences in the fracture point of rotary nickel-titanium instruments depending on the application of cyclic fatigue only (CO) or in combination with torsional stress (CT).

Concepts: Fracture mechanics, Elasticity, Mechanics, Polar moment of inertia


Bark patterns are a visually important characteristic of trees, typically attributed to fractures occurring during secondary growth of the trunk and branches. An understanding of bark pattern formation has been hampered by insufficient information regarding the biomechanical properties of bark and the corresponding difficulties in faithfully modelling bark fractures using continuum mechanics. This study focuses on the genus Xanthorrhoea (grasstrees), which have an unusual bark-like structure composed of distinct leaf bases connected by sticky resin. Due to its discrete character, this structure is well suited for computational studies.

Concepts: Continuum mechanics, Mechanical engineering, Tree, Biomechanics, Pattern, Solid mechanics, Trunk, Mechanics


The V-W exponential hyperelastic model is adopted to describe the instantaneous elastic response of the periodontal ligament (PDL). The general theoretical framework of constitutive modeling is described based on nonlinear continuum mechanics, and the elasticity tensor used to develop UMAT subroutine is formulated. Nanoindentation experiment is performed to characterize mechanical properties of an adult pig PDL specimen. Then the experiment is simulated by using the finite element (FE) analysis. Meanwhile, the optimized material parameters are identified by the inverse FE method. The good agreement between the simulated results and experimental data demonstrates that the V-W model is capable of describing the mechanical behavior of the PDL. Therefore, the model and its implementation into FE code are validated. By using the model, we simulate the tooth movement under orthodontic loading to predict the mechanical responses of the PDL. The results show that local concentrations of stress and strain in the PDL are found.

Concepts: Engineering, Continuum mechanics, Stress, Elasticity, Solid mechanics, Linear elasticity, Mechanics, Tensor


Clavicle fractures may occur in all age groups, and 70%-80% of clavicle fractures occur in the midshaft. Many methods for treating midshaft clavicular fractures have been reported and remain controversial. To provide some guidance for clinical treatment, 30 artificial polymethyl methacrylate models of the clavicle were sewn obliquely at the midshaft to simulate the most common type of clavicular fractures, and the fracture models were divided into five groups randomly and were fixed as follows: the reconstruction plates were placed at the superior position of the fracture model (R-S group), the reconstruction plates were placed at the anteroinferior position of the fracture model (R-AI group), the locking plates were placed at the superior position (L-S group), the locking plates were placed at the anteroinferior position (L-AI group); and the control models were unfixed (control group). The strain gauges were attached to the bone surface near the fracture fragments, and then, the biomechanical properties of the specimens were measured using the compression test, torsion test and three-point bending test. The results showed that plate fixation can provide a stable construct to help with fracture healing and is the preferred method in the treatment of clavicle fractures. The locking plate provides the best biomechanical stability when placed at the anteroinferior position, and this surgical method can reduce the operation time and postoperative complications; thus, it would be a better choice in clinical practice.

Concepts: Bone, Bone fracture, Fracture, Group, Biomechanics, Clavicle fracture, Reconstruction era of the United States, Mechanics


Avoiding predators is an essential behavior in which animals must quickly transform sensory cues into evasive actions. Sensory reflexes are particularly fast in flying insects such as flies, but the means by which they evade aerial predators is not known. Using high-speed videography and automated tracking of flies in combination with aerodynamic measurements on flapping robots, we show that flying flies react to looming stimuli with directed banked turns. The maneuver consists of a rapid body rotation followed immediately by an active counter-rotation and is enacted by remarkably subtle changes in wing motion. These evasive maneuvers of flies are substantially faster than steering maneuvers measured previously and indicate the existence of sensory-motor circuitry that can reorient the fly’s flight path within a few wingbeats.

Concepts: Insect, Measurement, Aerodynamics, Mechanics, Fly, Flight, Flying and gliding animals, Lift


In the Everest valley of Nepal, because of the rugged mountain terrain, roads are nothing more than dirt paths and all material must be conveyed on foot. The Nepalese porters routinely carry head-supported loads, which often exceed their body mass, over long distances up and down the steep mountain footpaths. In Africa, women transport their loads economically thanks to an energy-saving gait adaptation. We hypothesized that the Nepalese porters may have developed a corresponding mechanism. To investigate this proposition, we measured the mechanical work done during level walking in Nepalese porters while carrying different loads at several speeds. Our results show that the Nepalese porters do not use an equivalent mechanism as the African women to reduce work. In contrast, the Nepalese porters develop an equal amount of total mechanical work as Western control subjects while carrying loads of 0 to 120% of their body mass at all speeds measured (0.5-1.7 m s(-1)), making even more impressive their ability to carry loads without any apparent mechanically determined tricks. Nevertheless, our results show that the Nepalese porters have a higher efficiency, at least at slow speeds and high loads.

Concepts: Energy, Africa, Force, Road, Mechanics, Work


3D scaffolds of graphene, possessing ultra-low density, macroporous microstructure, and high yield strength and stiffness can be developed by a novel plasma welding process. The bonding between adjacent graphene sheets is investigated by molecular dynamics simulations. The high degree of biocompatibility along with high porosity and good mechanical properties makes graphene an ideal material for use as body implants.

Concepts: Oxygen, Engineering, Tensile strength, Porosity, Classical mechanics, Elasticity, Mechanics, Bulk density


Patients with degraded bioprosthetic heart valves (BHV) who are not candidates for valve replacement may benefit from transcatheter valve-in-valve (VIV) therapy. However, at smaller sized surgical BHV the resultant orifice may become too narrow. To overcome this, the valve frame can be fractured by a high-pressure balloon prior to VIV. However, knowledge on fracture pressures and mechanics are prerequisites. The aim of this study is to identify the fracture pressures needed in BHV, and to describe the fracture mechanics.

Concepts: Fracture, Fracture mechanics, Fractography, Mechanics, Valvular heart disease, Valves, Fracture toughness, Piping


A century-old tenet in physics and engineering asserts that any type of system, having bandwidth Δω, can interact with a wave over only a constrained time period Δt inversely proportional to the bandwidth (Δt·Δω ~ 2π). This law severely limits the generic capabilities of all types of resonant and wave-guiding systems in photonics, cavity quantum electrodynamics and optomechanics, acoustics, continuum mechanics, and atomic and optical physics but is thought to be completely fundamental, arising from basic Fourier reciprocity. We propose that this “fundamental” limit can be overcome in systems where Lorentz reciprocity is broken. As a system becomes more asymmetric in its transport properties, the degree to which the limit can be surpassed becomes greater. By way of example, we theoretically demonstrate how, in an astutely designed magnetized semiconductor heterostructure, the above limit can be exceeded by orders of magnitude by using realistic material parameters. Our findings revise prevailing paradigms for linear, time-invariant resonant systems, challenging the doctrine that high-quality resonances must invariably be narrowband and providing the possibility of developing devices with unprecedentedly high time-bandwidth performance.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Quantum mechanics, Optics, Fundamental physics concepts, Physics, Quantum electrodynamics, Wave, Mechanics