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Rod-like reinforcements provide strength: plants

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Cross section of Coleus blumei stem / Louisa Howar.. / LicensePD - Public Domain

Vascular bundles in plants provide mechanical strength, serving as rod-like reinforcements.

"Figure 5: Part of a stem of a robust grass, in cross section. Here mechanical strength of the stem is provided by the vascular bundles set in a matrix of thinner-walled cells, rather like rod reinforcements. Each vascular bundle has an outer sheath of fibres, forming a strong tube in which the two wide vessels can conduct water, and the strand of thin-walled, narrow cells (phloem) can transport sugar solutions with little risk of damage. Just to the inner side of the outer ring of smaller vessels the several layers of narrow cells eventually become thick-walled and provide additional strength in the form of a cylinder to the whole stem." (Cutler 2005:101)
About the inspiring organism

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Models for the arrangement of structural elements that provide various levels of mechanical support, models for composite materials. Also multifunctional - used for liquid transport as well as structural support.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Materials science, structural engineering

Cutler, DF. 2005. Design in plants. In: Collins, MW; Atherton, MA; Bryant, JA, editors. Nature and Design. Southampton, Boston: WIT Press. p 95-124
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