177. STRUCTURAL AND MECHANICAL PROPERTIES OF AVIAN APPENDAGES
Department: Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Research Institute Affiliation: Graduate Program in Materials Science and Engineering
Faculty Advisor(s): Joanna Mckittrick | Marc A. Meyers
Name: Sara Gail Bodde
Grad Year: 2010
Yasuaki Seki, firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the Avian class typically have hard and rigid anatomical parts which are engaged for purposes of protection, foraging, and locomotion. Of the approximately 10,000 species of modern birds, only about 40 are not volant; therefore, for most birds the mechanical competency of the bill and other integumentary structures must be balanced with low weight.
A primary constituent of the avian integumentary system is keratin. Rhamphotheca (bill exterior), feather, and claw/talon are composed of keratin. While previous research has resulted in micro-hardness data and Young's modulus of avian keratin, little research has elucidated the role of structural conformation of constituent material in the mechanical response of avian appendages.
Hierarchical structure has been observed in feather. Irregular polygonal keratin tiles havebeen observed on Hornbill rhamphotheca, Owl talon, and Kestrel barb. Cellular solids are observed in avian appendages. As interior of the bills of Toucan and Hornbill is a bony network of closed-cell foam, honeycomb structure has been observed by SEM in crosssectionsof feather rachides and barbs of Owl, Kestrel, and Macaw. Young?s modulus of Kestrel rachides was found to be 0.89 ± .04 GPa while values determined for Owl rachides fall within 0.83 ? 14.31 GPa. Feather and beak are sandwich-structured composites.