Researchers demonstrate how a branch–stem attachment could serve as a model for technical fiber-reinforced lightweight ramifications
Could dragon trees serve as a source of inspiration for innovations in lightweight construction? A team of researchers at the University of Freiburg and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has laid the groundwork for designing technical fiber-reinforced lightweight ramifications modeled on branch–stem attachments.
With the help of high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging techniques, the scientists succeeded in observing how the tissue of a living dragon tree is displaced when subjected to a load. In the future, technical fiber-reinforced lightweight ramifications with structures and behavior similar to that of the natural model could be used to improve architectural supporting structures, bicycle frames, or automobile bodies. The team published the findings in the journal Scientific Reports.
Research groups led by Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck, head of the Plant Biomechanics Group and director of the University of Freiburg Botanical Garden, and Prof. Dr. Jan G. Korvink, head of the Institute of Microstructure Technology at KIT, developed a new type of experimental setup for the study.
The biologist Linnea Hesse from the University of Freiburg and the medical physicist Dr. Jochen Leipold from the Department of Radiology – Medical Physics at the Freiburg University Medical Center began by imaging the inside of a dragon tree stem and branch in an unloaded state with the help of a magnetic resonance imaging device (MRT). They then used a mechanical arm controlled from outside of the MRI device to bend the branch and again imaged the internal structure of the plant. The scientists created three-dimensional computer models of the two sets of images.
These models allowed them to compare how the tissues that stabilize the plant behave under these conditions and how they are displaced in response to a load – including both the vascular bundles that transport substances and fluids within the plant and the fiber caps that surround and protect these vascular bundles.
In doing so, the scientists observed the entire branch–stem attachment as well as the individual vascular bundles to track with great precision the changes they undergo when subjected to a load. Depending on their position in the branch, the bundles and the caps stretch lengthwise to absorb a tensile load or are pressed crosswise against the surrounding tissue to cushion it against compressive stress.
The findings will now serve as a basis for developing technical fiber-reinforced lightweight ramifications – with the goal of further improving lightweight and stable materials using a natural model.
Hesse, L., Masselter, T., Leupold, J., Spengler, N., Speck, T., Korvink, J.G.: Magnetic resonance imaging reveals functional anatomy and biomechanics of a living dragon tree. Sci. Rep. 6, 32685; doi: 10.1038/srep32685 (2016).
Prof. Dr. Thomas Speck
Plant Biomechanics Group
University of Freiburg
Phone: +49 (0)761/203-2875
Rudolf-Werner Dreier | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips
07.12.2016 | University of Texas at Austin
Porous crystalline materials: TU Graz researcher shows method for controlled growth
07.12.2016 | Technische Universität Graz
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering
07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine
07.12.2016 | Life Sciences