Tue, Feb 28, 2017 | updated 01:53 AM IST

Quake-proofing buildings the 'coconut' way

Updated: Jul 06, 2016 14:37 IST

Washington D.C, Jul 6 (ANI): Coconuts are renowned for their hard shells and now, the structure of their walls could help to design buildings that can withstand earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Coconut palms can grow 30 m high, meaning that when the ripe fruits fall to the ground their walls have to withstand the impact to stop them from splitting open. To protect the internal seed, the coconut has a complex structure of three layers: the outer brown, leathery exocarp, a fibrous mesocarp and a tough inner endocarp surrounding the pulp which contains the developing seedling.

As part of a larger project on "Biological Design and Integrative Structures," researchers at the Plant Biomechanics Group of the University of Freiburg have been working with civil engineers and material scientists to investigate how this specialised structure could be applied in architecture.

The researchers used compression machines and an impact pendulum to investigate how coconuts disperse energy. "By analysing the fracture behaviour of the samples and combining this with knowledge about the shell's anatomy gained from microscopy and computed tomography, we aimed to identify mechanically relevant structures for energy absorption" said researcher Stefanie Schmier.

Their investigations found that within the endocarp layer - which consists mainly of highly lignified stone cells- the vessels that make up the vascular system have a distinct, ladder-like design, which is thought to help withstand bending forces. Each cell is surrounded by several lignified rings, joined together by parallel bridges.

"The endocarp seems to dissipate energy via crack deflection" noted Stefanie, adding "This means that any newly developed cracks created by the impact don't run directly through the hard shell". It is thought that the angle of the vascular bundles helps to "divert" the trajectory of the cracks. The longer a crack has to travel within the endocarp, the more likely it is that it will stop before it reaches the other side.

The distinct angle of the vascular bundles in the endocarp could be applied to the arrangement of textile fibres within functionally graded concrete, to enable crack deflection. "This combination of lightweight structuring with high energy dissipation capacity is of increasing interest to protect buildings against earthquakes, rock fall and other natural or manmade hazards" said Stefanie.

The study has been presented at Society for Experimental Biology Annual Meeting 2016. (ANI)

New clues found for nuclear waste cleanup

Updated: Feb 24, 2017 09:35 IST

Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 24 (ANI): According to a study, the research being done on the chemistry of technetium-99 has boosted the understanding of the challenging nuclear waste and can lead to better cleanup methods.

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Washington D.C. [US], Feb. 24 (ANI): US researchers have suggested that specially trained dogs can be used to find wide-ranging species that are often threatened, sepecially cheetah in a region of Western Zambia.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 23(ANI): NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

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Noida (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Feb.22 (ANI): Germany's Alexander von Humboldt (AvH) Foundation has handed over equipment worth € 20, 000 to Amity University for accelerating research initiatives.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb 21 (ANI): The world's first battery to use only hydronium ions as the charge carrier has been been developed by scientists.

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Washington D.C. (USA), Feb. 21 (ANI): According to a new study, Carnegie's Stephen Elardo and Anat Shahar shows that interactions between iron and nickel under the extreme pressures and temperatures similar to a planetary interior can help scientists understand the period in our Solar System's youth when planets were forming and their cores were created.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): To boost breeding of endangered poultry breeds, Briton researchers have come up with gene-editing techniques for the rare breeds to use them as surrogates that cannot produce their own chicks.

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Meet 'Bernardbowen'- the new minor planet

Updated: Feb 18, 2017 07:00 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 18 (ANI): In a major development, a team of scientists have officially named a minor planet as 'Bernardbowen' that sits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

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New York [USA], Feb. 17 (ANI): NASA has called on the world to help it in the search for the new ninth planet, as anyone from a kindergartener to a 95-year-old, can participate in their new project to find the not-yet-discovered celestial body.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 9 (ANI): To cut down the number of traffic fatalities, drive less!

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Washington D.C. [USA], Feb. 8 (ANI): According to an international team of astronomers led by researchers from University Of Cambridge, the Magellanic Clouds, the two largest satellite galaxies of the Milky Way, appear to be connected by a bridge stretching across 43,000 light years.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers have discovered prehistoric wolf-sized otter fossils with a large head and a powerful jaw, weighing around 100 pounds, in China's Yunnan province.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Jan. 25 (ANI): A study finds that early identification of hearing loss in newborn due to a disease or physical abnormality by birth may help them in better language outcomes as they grow.

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Chennai [India], Jan.14 (ANI-Businesswire India): While "Jallikattu" seems to be the trending topic of discussion in Tamil Nadu at the moment, a silent revolution envisioned by youth icon and late Former President of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam has quietly gained momentum. Ignite-India is a nation-wide innovation platform for student innovators and young entrepreneurs in high schools and colleges. Founded by International swimmer Agnishwar Jayaprakash in 2014, the organization has designed & hosted 96 Regional Innovation Conferences and 3 National Innovation Conferences across 36 cities in India where students competed to showcased their innovative creations. These innovations were judged based on the practicality, creativity & sustainability by technical experts from diverse fields.

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New Delhi [India], Jan. 13 (ANI): New computer simulations have shown that tiny droplets of sulphuric acid resulted in long-lasting cooling, which was a likely contributor to the death of land-living dinosaurs.

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New human organ in digestive system discovered

Updated: Jan 05, 2017 06:27 IST

New Delhi [India], Jan. 5 (ANI): Scientists have discovered what they are calling a new human organ that exists in the digestive system.

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Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Songbirds divorce, pack up and leave and miss their best chances for successful reproduction, courtesy suburban development.

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How do conch shells have such huge variety?

Updated: Jan 04, 2017 05:52 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], January 4 (ANI): Conch shells and its varied shapes and size have always been something that has captivated the eyes of collectors.

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Washington D.C. [USA], Dec. 31 (ANI): A new study finds that despite English being considered the common language of global science, over 30 percent of new scientific reports are published other languages due to which many major findings have been overlooked.

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