Ants That Flow Like Liquid or Move Like a Solid

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[S]cientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, including Zhongyang Liu and David Hu, were interested in the ways that a mass — or you might say, a mess — of fire ants can act like a fluid or a solid, depending on the situation.

[R]esearchers showed video of the ants pouring out of a funnel, like some thick and wriggling syrup, and also springing back into a rough ball shape after being pressed down.

To flow, they moved around, rearranging themselves in the group, acting like a thick fluid. When the aggregation struggled to keep its shape, the ants clung to each other, acting like an elastic solid.

There is also some very interesting talk about leveraging this research into development of self-assembling robots, bridge construction, and other very practical challenges in the human world.

Via The New York Times for the full story.

This entry was posted in Science, Videos by Heretic. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heretic

I design video games for a living, write fiction, political theory and poetry for personal amusement, and train regularly in Western European 16th century swordwork. On frequent occasion I have been known to hunt for and explore abandoned graveyards, train tunnels and other interesting places wherever I may find them, but there is absolutely no truth to the rumor that I am preparing to set off a zombie apocalypse. Nothing that will stand up in court, at least. I use paranthesis with distressing frequency, have a deep passion for history, anthropology and sociological theory, and really, really, really hate mayonnaise. But I wash my hands after the writing. Promise.

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