Researchers at Harvard University, led by Alexander Heyde, worked with Toulouse University Paul Sabatier colleagues to develop a mathematical model to explain the complex architecture of termite dwellings and how they were built.
To do this, the researchers excavated two underground colonies of African termites, Apicotermes lamani, and then studied the internal structure using computed tomography and visualized their structure. The authors also quantified the architectural proportions and parameters of the building elements.
As a result, it was found that termite mounds have certain repetitive architectural “solutions” that provide effective access, ventilation, and cooling of insect nests.
As a result, the researchers modeled spiral staircases, as well as harmoniously located nests with floors. According to the authors, there is a clear biotectonic scheme during the construction of termite mounds, and, interestingly, it can be formulated as an equation of space-time evolution.
Termites also reproduce pheromones during construction, which signal previous activity and provide information about future actions.
Researchers believe that such coherent mass processes can be used to create group robotics.