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A Structurally Motivated Constitutive Model for Bat Wing Skin

[+] Author Affiliations
Alyssa J. Skulborstad, N. C. Goulbourne

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Paper No. IMECE2014-39525, pp. V009T12A091; 8 pages
  • ASME 2014 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 9: Mechanics of Solids, Structures and Fluids
  • Montreal, Quebec, Canada, November 14–20, 2014
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4958-3
  • Copyright © 2014 by ASME


Unique among animal flyers, bats have highly flexible and stretchable thin wing membranes. The connection between the structural constituents of bat wing skin, its material behavior, and flight abilities is not yet known. In this work we propose a structurally motivated constitutive model for the wing skin. Within a continuum mechanics framework, the proposed strain energy function for the wing skin is the sum of contributions due to the matrix and two mesoscopic fiber families, one oriented primarily spanwise consisting of elastin fiber bundles and the other family oriented chordwise consisting of muscle fibers. While the fibers are flat and straight when the wing is somewhat open, the matrix exhibits corrugations due to compressive loading from the pre-stretched spanwise fibers. This mismatch in the natural configurations of components is accounted for in the model by a decomposition of the deformation gradient of the spanwise fibers. The material parameters are fit with a procedure motivated by the underlying deformation mechanisms of the tissue corresponding to the regions of the j-shaped constitutive curves. The proposed model is fit to the first set of biaxial experimental stress-strain data for bat wing skin and captures the general features of the tissue response well.

Copyright © 2014 by ASME



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