Discovering How A Honeycomb Is Made

Discovering How A Honeycomb Is Made

By Shinji Tutoru

CARDIFF UNIVERSITY, WALES, UK. For the longest time, scientists and philosophers have been intrigued with the natural hexagonal shape of a honeybee comb’s cells. Although it has been widely studied, this natural structure remains a challenge for researchers who try to uncover its secrets; they can only suggest different ways the structure of the perfectly natural piece of art is formed.

One of the oldest rumors about honeycombs is that bees supposedly have an uncanny ability to do mathematical calculations. Another is that bees have an absurd capability to measure lengths and angles which allows them to create their uniform honeybee comb.

It was only recently that a group of researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Engineering in the United Kingdom found out that the natural hexagonal honeybee comb’s cells start out as individual circular shapes. While the honeybee comb is being built by its worker bees, it quickly transforms into the more familiar hexagonal shape.

This is because of the natural body heat that the worker bees produce while at work. The wax in the honeybee comb starts to turn semi-molten at about 113°F and starts flowing like an elastic liquid. While the wax is in this state, it gets pulled into hexagonal cells by surface tension at the junctions where three of the honeybee comb walls meet.

The study is led by Professor Bhushan Karihaloo and his team. They said that although the process is all natural, it is still the worker bees that do all the work to make this natural occurrence a thing of beauty. They do everything from heating, kneading and even thinning the wax as it should and that is something to be really amazed with.

Invention Discovering How A Honeybee Comb Is Made
Organization Cardiff University
Researcher Professor Bhushan Karihaloo & Team
Field(s) Nature, Honey, Bees, Biology, Sugar
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