Insects may hold the key to more effective coatings and lubrication systems

Dr. Jun Kyun Oh was highlighted in the Materials Today journal for his work which was funded by the National Science Foundation that aims to understand how forces at the molecular level determine adhesion kinetics and dynamics.

Jun Oh

Oh, a former student in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and postdoctoral researcher in the Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering at Texas A&M University, investigated the structural properties of the hind leg femur-tibia joint in adult katydids, or bush crickets.

“We showed that the katydid hind leg femur-tibia joint had unique surfaces and nanoscale textures,” Oh said. “Importantly, the sheared surfaces at this joint showed no sign of wear or damage, even though it had undergone thousands of external shearing cycles.”

The potential of their bioinspired research is leading to further studies to develop more effective coatings and lubrication systems.

“The research will seek to determine the main features of surface morphology of different characteristics of insect joints and how these features influence the adhesion between insect joints,” Oh said. It will also establish the role of their internal nanostructure on their mechanical properties such as stiffness and hardness.”

Oh is collaborating with Dr. Spencer Behmer, professor in the Department of Entomology, and Richelle Marquess, a student of Behmer’s.