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Numerical study of the impact response of woodpecker's head

Author(s): Zhao Dan Zhu | Guo Jun Ma | Cheng Wei Wu | Zhen Chen

Journal: AIP Advances
ISSN 2158-3226

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 042173;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Woodpecker can beat trees 20-25 times per second and lasts for several seconds, with a 1200 g deceleration, but it appears that they never get brain concussion. How does the stress wave propagate from the beak tip to brain and how does a woodpecker protect itself from brain damage? In this paper, we establish a finite element model of typical woodpecker head based on its X-ray tomography images and conduct the numerical analysis of the impact response of the woodpecker's head by using a viscoelasticity material model. Especially, the woodpecker head response to an impact speed of 7 m/s is investigated to explore the stress concentration zone and how the stress wave propagates in its head. The numerical results show that the stress wave in the head propagates from the upper beak to back skull and is reduced by the specific structure of hyoid and viscoelasticity of biomaterials. The maximum stresses in skull and brain are both below the safe level. The stress in skull almost disappears before the next impact. The stress in brain lasts for a little longer but shows smaller value with little variation. The stress is impossible to accumulate in the limited pecking time, so the brain damage can be avoided.
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