Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Joanna Mckittrick | Marc A. Meyers

Primary Student
Name: James Huai Kiang
Email: jkiang@ucsd.edu
Phone: 818-687-9856
Grad Year: 2012

Student Collaborators
Hannah Walsh, hwalsh@ucsd.edu | Sara Bodde, sgbodde@gmail.com | Katya Novitskaya, katya.kritsuk@gmail.com

Nearly all species of modern birds are capable of flight; therefore mechanical competency of appendages and the rigidity of their skeletal system must be optimized. Birds have developed extremely lightweight skeletal systems that help aid in the generation of lift and thrust forces as well as helping them maintain flight over a long period of time. The wing bones of birds has been observed to have a similar microstructure to those of other mammalian long bones arranged in osteons located in the compact region of the whole bone. In addition, struts have been found within certain sections of the bone. In this work, the protein within the strut has been removed via deproteinization and the structure of these struts has been imaged using an environmental SEM. Hardness testing was performed on the compact section of the wing bone as well as the strut. It has been found that the hardness value of the strut is roughly half that of the compact bone. Compression testing was performed on cross-sectional cylindrical portions of the wing bone. These cross-sectional samples included portions that contained struts and portions that were hollow. The data from the mechanical testing was compared with microstructural observations to determine the relevance behind the struts. Further analysis will consist of optical and mechanical characterization of the wing bones of different species of flight capable birds and compare their properties to determine the relationship between the struts and their role within the bone. This work is funded by the NSF, Ceramics Program Grant 1006931.

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