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Hydraulic action creates structural rigidity: human


Cross-section showing corpora cavernosa / Gray's Anato.. / LicensePD - Public Domain

The penis of humans avoids buckling by hydraulic action of increased blood flow into the corpora cavernosa.

"Two major branches of engineering mechanics are fluid mechanics and structural mechanics, with many practical problems involving the effect of the first on the second. An example is the design of an aircraft's wings to bend within reasonable limits without breaking under the action of lift forces exerted by the air flowing over them; another is the maintenance of the structural integrity of a dam designed to hold back a water reservoir which would exert very large forces on it. Similarly, fluid and structural mechanics are involved in the engineering analysis of erectile function: it is the hydraulic action of increased blood flow into the corpora cavernosa that creates the structural rigidity necessary to prevent collapse of the penile column." (Udelson 2007:1031)
About the inspiring organism
Homo sapiens Linnaeus, 1758
Common name: man

Learn more at
Some organism data provided by: ITIS: The Integrated Taxonomic Information System
Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Threat Categories LONG_LC IUCN Red List Status: Least Concern

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Use of hydraulic action to prevent buckling in bridge supports, dams. Deployable structures that use water to provide rigidity.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Fluid Mechanics, Engineering, Manufacturing, Aeronautics, Structural Engineering

Udelson, D. 2007. Biomechanics of male erectile function. Journal of the Royal Society Interface.
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Vogel S. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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