Force Analysis of Leg Muscles in Genus Panthera


  • Cassidy Barrett


Mimicking biology in mechanical systems, while no longer a new solution to design problems, does indeed allow for innovation compared with traditional design. Biological systems are often highly efficient and can offer engineers a blueprint to create from. For example, members of the genus Panthera, (lions, tigers, leopards, jaguars, and snow leopards), defined here as “big cats”, are naturally optimized for speed and power in killing prey. They are apex predators yet still maintain balance and stealth as they hunt. The goal of this project is to analyze the muscular structure of the legs in big cats from a mechanical force analysis. The five big cats will be compared graphically based on average size, food consumption, muscle mass, muscle distribution, relative speed, and strength. Computational algorithms describing the mathematical model of motion of each component of the muscle system will be developed. Variables of interest will be identified and tested, hypothesizing to see what combination of graphed characteristics creates the strongest/fastest/lightest/most fuel-efficient system. This information can then be applied to the design of a machine as a mechanical system prototype inspired by the given characteristics and the basic structure of a big cat’s leg.