Escrito por  2016-09-21

Coco ajuda a projetar edifícios antiterremoto

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Duro na queda

Engenheiros e cientistas dos materiais da Universidade de Freiburg, na Alemanha, juntaram-se para tentar explorar a estrutura natural do coco em benefício da arquitetura e da construção civil.

Coqueiros podem ter 30 metros de altura, o que significa que, quando os cocos maduros caem no chão, suas paredes têm de suportar o impacto para que eles não rachem.

Para proteger a semente lá dentro, o coco tem uma estrutura complexa formada por três camadas principais: a casca externa que lembra a estrutura do couro, um mesocarpo fibroso e um resistente endocarpo interno em torno da polpa que contém a plântula em desenvolvimento.

"Analisando o comportamento de fratura das amostras e combinando isso com o conhecimento sobre a anatomia da casca obtida por microscopia e tomografia computadorizada, estamos identificando as estruturas mecanicamente relevantes para absorção de energia," explicou Stefanie Schmier, membro da equipe.

Desvio das fraturas

Os dados revelaram que, dentro do endocarpo - que consiste principalmente de células altamente lignificadas - os vasos que compõem o sistema vascular do fruto têm um design diferente, parecido com uma escada, responsável por suportar as forças de flexão.

Cada célula é rodeada por diversos anéis lignificados, unidos por pontes paralelas - a lignina é uma molécula associada à celulose na parede celular para dar rigidez aos tecidos vegetais.

A equipe acredita que é o ângulo desses vasculares que ajuda a "desviar" a trajetória das fissuras - quanto mais tempo uma rachadura tem que viajar para dentro do endocarpo, mais provável é que ela vai parar antes de chegar ao outro lado.

Prédios antiterremoto

A equipe acredita que essa angulação especial dos feixes vasculares no endocarpo do coco pode ser aplicada ao arranjo de fibras têxteis no interior do concreto para permitir a deflexão de fendas e rachaduras, evitando o colapso da estrutura.

"Esta combinação de uma estrutura leve com uma elevada capacidade de dissipação de energia é de interesse crescente para proteger edifícios contra terremotos, quedas de rochas e outros perigos naturais ou provocados pelo homem", disse Stefanie.

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