Athlete Energy Ants | Weight | Ant

Athlete Energy Ants by Anis Raihana binti Abdul Aziz

Do you ever know that we actually do have an animal of equal energy as an athlete? Yes, it exists! It's the humble field ant. In previous research, the researchers discovered that an ant can only withstand an object of approximately 1000 times of its weight for instance dead baby birds. But recently, a group of researchers found that its neck joint is able to withstand 5000 times of its weight. Carlos Castro who is a mechanical and aerospace engineer at The Ohio State University, Columbus quoted, "We believed that the ants can only carry about 1000 times their weight, so we decided to do more research about it from there. The ants have definitely surprised us cause we never thought they had any capabilities beyond this," He then teamed up with his colleagues to test the strength of ants involving extreme and destructive measures. The ants were anesthetised and glued to a compact disc size of a centrifuge and spun the disc faster and faster. As it spun rate increases, the forces applied onto the ants also increases until the forces cause deformation on their necks and separated their head from their bodies at the neck joint. “We had to put a Plexiglas barrier around the centrifuge to protect the grad students because the ant bodies would be flying at the moment of rupture,” said Castro. When the researcher applied forces of 3400 to 5000 times their average body weight, the ants' necks ruptured. Not only that, Castro also used a micro computed tomography to reconstruct a 3-D model of the ant’s neck joint. He determined that there is a microstructure of bumps and folds at the surface of the ant's neck which helped it shoulders heavy loads. Other researchers believed that the research does not really proved how much weight than the ants can actually carry and lift though they are certainly and naturally strong. A researcher at the University of Glasgow named Thomas Endlein, who studied the sticky pads on ants' feet stated that lifting large weights is problematic in terms of the strength of the muscle, the structural stiffness and balance. "Smaller animals do have relatively more muscle strength to their body weight compared to larger animals. What matters most is how they balance the weight as they would need to lever off the weights from the ground. This gets tricky especially when the objects are in odd shape or heavy. Later, when walking, they would have to avoid the objects from falling over and have to ensure that the objects overhead are balanced," said Endlein.


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