New Delhi: Coconut shells are tough and hard to penetrate is a fact the entire world is aware of. But, to take inspiration from the layered shells of a coconut to create a type of concrete to construct Earthquake-proof buildings sounds like sheer genius!
The three-layered structure of the coconut shell – the skin, the husk and the shell – is being studied by researchers at the University of Freiburg, Germany, who are working along with civil engineers and material scientists to create this possibility.
The inner shell of a coconut, known as encocarp, contains a ladder-like vascular system which carries water and nutrients around the coconut. However, researchers believe that it could possibly withstand bending forces as well.
Sky News quoted plant biomechanist Dr Stefanie Schmier, who said, "The endocarp seems to dissipate energy via crack deflection.
"This means that any newly developed cracks created by the impact don't run directly through the hard shell."
The longer a crack travels, its chances of ceasing before it grows become less, researchers believe that this structure deflects the ambit of cracks.
Sky News further explained that, if textile fibres within concrete are arranged so that they mimic that of the coconut, then it could help to construct buildings which are stronger.
This would be particularly useful in earthquake-prone areas, by making sure that buildings do not crack and topple when the ground starts shaking.