(Peer-Reviewed) Research on Material and Morphological Structure of Venus Flytrap Trigger Hair
Qian Wang 王倩 ¹ ², Kun Xu ¹, Cheng Fan 樊成 ¹, Lining Sun 孙立宁 ¹, Lei Zhang 张雷 ¹, Kejun Wang 王可军 ¹ ²
¹ Jiangsu Provincial Key Laboratory of Advanced Robotics, Soochow University, Suzhou 215021, China
中国 苏州 苏州大学 江苏省先进机器人技术重点实验室
² Key Laboratory for Bionic Engineering (Ministry of Education), Jilin University, Changchun 130022, China
中国 长春 吉林大学工程仿生教育部重点实验室

Venus flytrap can sense the very small insects that touch its tactile receptors, known as trigger hairs, and thus capture prey to maintain its nutrient demand. However, there are few studies on the trigger hair and its morphological structure and material properties are not fully understood. In this study, the trigger hair is systematically characterized with the help of different instruments.

Results show that trigger hair is a special cantilever beam structure and it has a large longitudinal diameter ratio. Besides, it is composed of a hair lever and a basal podium, and there is a notch near the hair base. The cross-section of the trigger hair is approximately a honeycomb structure, which is composed of many holes. Methods to measure mechanical properties of trigger hair are introduced in this paper.

Based on the mechanical tests, trigger hair proved to be a variable stiffness structure and shows a high sensitivity to the external force. These features can provide supports for the understanding of the high-sensitivity sensing mechanism of trigger hairs from the perspective of structure and material, and offer inspirations for the development of high-performance tactile sensors.
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