Biomimetics: Material monitors mugginess

Journal name:
Nature
Volume:
467,
Page:
370
Date published:
DOI:
doi:10.1038/467370c
Published online

Inspired by the natural design of the Hercules beetle, researchers have created a film that changes colour according to the ambient humidity.

In muggy weather, microscopic pockets in the insect's shell trap water, transforming the beetle (Dynastes hercules; pictured) from khaki-green to black. Seung-Yop Lee and Jungyul Park of Sogang University in Seoul and their colleagues generated porous plastic films with a structure similar to that of the beetle's cuticle. At 25% humidity, the material appears blue-green, but at 98% it changes to red.

A sensor made from the material would not need electricity and could be used in small medical or agricultural devices.

AM. INST. PHYS.

Appl. Phys. Lett. 97, 103701 (2010)

Additional data