Adaptations of plant leaves for avoiding, dissipating or exploiting impact energy
Coming from a biomimetics background, I am fascinated by interdisciplinary research combining biology, physics and engineering. After looking at the biomechanics of insect claws and mandibles and their interaction with plant material, I now find myself entirely immersed in the plant kingdom. In my PhD I am looking at different approaches how plants deal with impacts from rain and hail and which geometric parameters or material properties determine a leaf’s resistance to impact damage. Apart from looking at a wide variety of different plant leaves, I am also studying the carnivorous pitcher plant Nepenthes gracilis, which can trap insects by exploiting energy from drop impacts.