How do plants build strong shells?
A multi-scale analysis
Seed encapsulation in hard shells is common for protection and dispersal. In their article "Topological Interlocking and Geometric Stiffening as Complementary Strategies for Strong Plant Shells", the research group led by Notburga Gierlinger from Institute for Biophysics reveal previously unknown functional interrelations between the structure, geometry, and mechanics in nutshells. They found that simple geometric modifications, such as the development of puzzle-shaped instead of round cells, and small spherical shells instead of large ellipsoidal shells, increase the fracture resistance of hard plant shells resource-efficiently.