David Hu

David Hu, Georgia Tech

Ants that can flow like a fluid, or spring back like a solid

The wetlands of Brazil can be a dangerous place. To keep their colonies together during flash floods, fire ants link their bodies together to build waterproof rafts. Ten thousand ants can build a raft in under two minutes. The cluster of ants can flow like a fluid, or bounce back like a coiled spring, depending on the situation. We use time-lapse photography, CT-scanning and rheological force measurement to elucidate how ants perform these feats. A video of this work is in the NY Times below: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/17/science/ants-that-can-flow-like-a-fluid-or-move-like-a-solid.html?_r=0