Science of squeezed oranges may help de­tec­tion of fail­ing bridges

Iran Daily - - Science & Technology - By study­ing the me­chan­ics of a squeezed or­ange and its unique mul­ti­lay­ered peel, sci­en­tists may be able to more ac­cu­rately pre­dict bridge fail­ures or de­velop new ways to de­liver medicine. In a new study, pub­lished in the jour­nal Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tion

sys­tems to math­e­mat­i­cally char­ac­ter­ize how cre­ation works, and de­spite the ubiq­uity of cit­rusfruit con­sump­tion, th­ese jets had not been pre­vi­ously stud­ied.

“Na­ture is our great­est in­spi­ra­tion for tack­ling real-world prob­lems.”

A hard, shiny outer layer pro­tects the or­ange. A softer, spongier layer is found be­neath. Within the bot­tom layer are mi­cro­scopic reser­voirs of oil.

When an or­ange is squeezed, the spongy layer ab­sorbs en­ergy. At a crit­i­cal thresh­old, when enough en­ergy has been ab­sorbed, the pres­sure in the oil re­serves causes tiny holes to be ripped open in the outer layer and a jet of oil to be re­leased.

Tiny streams of oil exit the jets at 22 miles per hour, with an ac­cel­er­at­ing force of 5,000 Gs — 1,000 times the force as­tro­nauts feel as they blast-off from Earth.

Grad­u­ate stu­dent Ni­cholas Smith said, “There are sev­eral po­ten­tial ap­pli­ca­tions.”

Sci­en­tists sug­gest a bridge could de­ploy a sim­i­lar mech­a­nism. A bridge could be de­signed so that when its ma­te­ri­als de­grade past a crit­i­cal thresh­old, a color change is trig­gered.

Dick­er­son said, “It would have an or­ange-like skin layer and when you were ap­proach­ing ma­te­rial fail­ure, you would get a pre­ven­ta­tive warn­ing.”

The or­ange peel’s me­chan­ics could also in­spire new drug de­liv­ery meth­ods, the re­searchers said.

Smith said, “For asth­mat­ics, you could have a small slice of ma­te­rial which would aerosolize emer­gency med­i­ca­tion that you cur­rently find in ex­pen­sive, multi-use in­halers.

“This ap­proach may be less ex­pen­sive and biodegrad­able.”

UPI When squeezed, an or­ange’s jets ex­pel a zesty per­fume of oil, an at­tribute prized by chefs and bar­tenders — which sci­en­tists said could in­spire ev­ery­thing from bridge de­sign to drug de­liv­ery.

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