Many of the creations of human beings are inspired by nature, and so are many aerospace technologies. People learn the abilities of animals through observation and apply them in production and life, which is bionics. In the development of the aerospace industry, many inventions are actually “learned” from various natural organisms.
1. Crayfish and giraffes in the space suit “Student”
Space suits and crayfish, can you think of a connection between these two seemingly far apart things?
As we all know, astronauts can successfully leave the cabin to complete various tasks, all rely on the protection of spacesuits. Spacesuits are equivalent to a small manned spacecraft, which can provide astronauts with an environment similar to the earth and resist vacuum, high and low temperature, and solar radiation. And the hazards of environmental factors such as micro meteors.
In addition to having a high safety factor, space suits also need good flexibility. Joints are a major difficulty in the design of spacesuits. If the joints are too hard, it will be difficult for astronauts to move; if they are too soft, they will not be able to achieve the protective effect. In order for the astronauts to have a space suit that is both firm and flexible, scientists have worked hard.
When designing a new generation of “flying” spacesuits, Chinese aerospace engineers got unexpected inspiration from the hard and flexible scale structure of the shrimp tail when eating crayfish.
Most of the crayfish’s body has a hard shell, but it does not affect its arbitrary bending, and it is also very flexible in the water. It turns out that its body has a layered structure of scales, which perfectly combines the hard body and soft tissue, so it is so flexible.
Engineers drew inspiration and after repeated designs and experiments, designed a laminated structure similar to shrimp tail scales at the joints of the “Flying” extravehicular suit. At the same time, airtight bearings were used to allow the spacesuit to strictly ensure airtightness and allow the joints to move. freely.
In addition, when the spacecraft is launched, the speed is very fast, and the pressure is simply unbearable for the human body. Scientists have found that when the giraffe’s blood is transported to the head through the long neck, cerebral hemorrhage does not occur. Through research on giraffes, scientists have developed an “anti-G suit” suitable for spaceflight. When the flight speed of the spacecraft increases, the anti-G suit can be filled with a certain amount of gas, thereby creating a certain pressure on the blood vessels, which can keep the blood pressure of the astronauts normal. At the same time, the part below the astronaut’s abdomen should be placed in a sealing device that removes air, which can reduce the blood pressure in the legs and facilitate the downward transportation of blood from the upper part of the body.
2. Space navigation, inspired by flies
In the universe, due to the lack of positioning markers, sometimes the spacecraft will deviate from the course and fly on the wrong orbit. How to solve this problem? Scientists noticed that flies “can take off directly” without using a runway. After research, they found that the pair of wings behind the fly had degenerated and formed a pair of dumbbell-shaped sticks, which are oar wings.
The wing is the natural navigator of the fly. When the fly is flying, the wing vibrates rapidly at a frequency of 330 times per second. Once the fly’s body tilts or deviates from the course, the wing will twist and vibrate and send a signal to the fly’s brain. The brain will immediately adjust the relevant muscles to correct the deviated course and maintain body balance.
Scientists have successfully developed a tuning-fork vibrating gyroscope by using the navigation principle of the fly’s wings, and installed it on a high-speed rocket, airplane or other spacecraft, which can automatically correct the deflected course and maintain the correct orbit. .
The fly’s compound eyes contain 4,000 single eyes that can image independently, allowing them to see objects in almost 360 degrees. Inspired by it, the “flying eye” camera composed of more than 1,300 small lenses can take more than 1,300 high-resolution photos at a time, and has been widely used in the aerospace field.
When an aircraft flies at high speed, it often vibrates violently, and sometimes even accidents occur due to broken wings. On the front of each wing of a dragonfly, there is a thickened dark cuticle or pigmented spot. Relying on the aggravated wing mole, it is safe and sound when flying at high speed. Therefore, people followed the example of dragonflies and added rectangular metal plates to the two wings of the aircraft as The anti-vibration device solves the difficult problem of vibration caused by high-speed flight.
3. The principle of satellite temperature regulation comes from butterflies
Scientists have studied butterflies and found that the scales of butterflies have the function of subtly regulating body temperature.
In the hot summer, when the sun shines directly on the butterfly, its scales will automatically open to reduce the radiation angle of the sun, thereby reducing the absorption of heat from the sun; when the temperature drops, the scales will automatically close again, Close to the body surface, so that the sun shines directly on the body, so as to absorb more heat from the sun.
It is precisely because the scales open and close automatically that the butterfly can always control its body temperature within the normal range.
When man-made earth satellites fly in space, they will be subjected to intense sunlight radiation, making the temperature on the sunny side as high as 200°C, while the shaded side will drop to minus 200°C, so that various precision instruments and meters on the satellite equipment are easily damaged. Burnt out or cracked by freezing, due to the huge temperature difference, many instruments are not very accurate in measurement.
Scientists imitated the function of butterfly scales and designed a high-efficiency temperature control device for artificial earth satellites, so that part of the surface of the satellite also has the same scales as butterflies. When the temperature is high due to direct sunlight, the scales will automatically open. And convert an angle, which greatly reduces the absorption of solar energy, so that the temperature of the satellite will not be too high.
When the outside temperature drops, the scales will automatically close and stick to the body surface to absorb more solar energy, so that the temperature of the satellite will not drop too low.
In addition, the soft outer membrane and blood vessels on the butterfly’s wings alternately tighten and loosen, allowing them to flex freely during any phase of flight. Emulating this structural feature of butterflies, engineers tried to improve flight efficiency by using small movable surfaces and flexible internal components in the wing design.
Previously, scientists had long used the characteristics of bats to send ultrasonic waves to see prey and avoid obstacles while flying, and equipped aircraft with radar systems.
4. Bee with Navigation Polarized Compass
Bees gather honey on countless flowers and never get lost. Why? It turns out that it uses polarized light for orientation.
Sunlight vibrating in all directions, after being refracted and reflected by the atmosphere, will become polarized light dominant in a certain direction, and bees use polarized light to determine the orientation of the sun.
Bees have a pair of compound eyes, and each eye is composed of 6,300 small eyes. Due to the special structure and special functions of the compound eyes, they are particularly sensitive to the polarized light of the sun. time correction.
Therefore, they go out to collect honey and return to the nest, and never lose their way. Inspired by the polarized light orientation ability of bees, scientists have developed a polarized compass, which is used in navigation and aviation technology. Whether it is a smoky day or a dark night where you can’t see your fingers, whether it is a white sea or an endless dark night sky, this kind of compass can keep ships and some spacecraft on the correct course.
In order for a spacecraft to achieve sufficient speed, the launch vehicle must provide considerable thrust. The lighter the spacecraft, the lighter the “burden” of the launch vehicle, and the higher and farther the spacecraft can fly. To reduce the weight of the spacecraft, scientists took inspiration from honeycomb structures.
When making a spaceship, people first make the metal material into a honeycomb shape, and then clamp it with two metal plates to form a honeycomb structure. The aircraft with this structure has large capacity, high strength, light weight, and is not easy to conduct sound and heat. Therefore, today’s spacecraft and other aircraft use this honeycomb structure.