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Coconut lessons

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  29 July 2016 12:00 AM GMT

When in doubt, go to the masters, say the wise. And the greatest master is ture, in whose lap man has observed and learnt since millennia. There is also no shame in copying ture outright, for she has had millions of years to try out and perfect her experiments. One such finished product is the coconut, with which people of this region too are very familiar. It is a fruit of which nothing goes waste, be it its white nutritious flesh, its refreshing water, and its fiber and copra for varied household use. Now comes the news that the hard coconut shell can also teach architects and civil engineers a thing or two about how to build earthquake-proof structures. Researchers at the University of Freiburg in Germany have found that the tough coconut shell has evolved a specialized structure of three layers. Within the innermost endocarp layer, the vessels making up the vascular system have a distinct, ladder-like design, which can withstand bending forces through crack deflection. Thus, newly developed cracks created by impact don’t run directly through the hard shell. The researchers are excited that this ‘combition of lightweight structuring with high energy dissipation capacity’ can help protect buildings against earthquakes, rock fall and other tural or man-made hazards.

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