Subject: Biology And Life Sciences, Anatomy And Physiology Keywords: Cocos nucifera; coconut endocarp; hierarchical structure; functional morphology; fracture toughening mechanisms
Online: 5 December 2019 (03:39:14 CET)
In recent years, the biomimetic potential of lignified or partially lignified fruit pericarps has moved into focus. For the transfer of functional principles into biomimetic applications, a profound understanding of the structural composition of the role models is important. The aim of this study was to qualitatively analyse and visualize the functional morphology of the coconut endocarp on several hierarchical levels, and to use these findings for a more precise evaluation of the toughening mechanisms in the endocarp. Eight hierarchical levels of the ripe coconut fruit were identified using different imaging techniques, including light and scanning electron microscopy as well as micro-computer-tomography. These range from the organ level of the fruit (H0) to the molecular composition (H7) of the endocarp components. A special focus was laid on the hierarchical levels of the endocarp (H3-H6). This investigation confirmed that all hierarchical levels influence the crack development in different ways and thus contribute to the pronounced fracture toughness of the coconut endocarp. By providing relevant morphological parameters at each hierarchical level with the associated toughening mechanisms, this lays the basis for transferring those properties into biomimetic technical applications.