Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 48, Issue 9, pp 3469–3478 | Cite as

Viscoelasticity and compaction behaviour of the foam-like pomelo (Citrus maxima) peel



The pomelo (Citrus maxima) is the largest and heaviest fruit of the genus Citrus and can acquire considerable potential energy as it ripens hanging up to 15 m height. Its thick foam-like structured peel presumably acts inter alia as a shock absorbing layer, protecting the fruit as it impacts on the ground upon being shed. Thereby the peel dissipates kinetic energy by being compacted. In order to elucidate the compaction mechanism of the highly heterogeneous pomelo peel, we conducted incremental stress relaxation tests. Two different models describing the stress relaxation curves, namely, the well-known Maxwell model and the Peleg model were compared and found to be suitable to describe the stress relaxation. As the Peleg model involves only two constants describing the relaxation curves it was the method of choice for interpreting the compaction of the peel samples. The inverse of k1 reflects the initial decay rate of the relaxation process and k2 is a measure of the samples’ solidity. The behaviour of these constants with increasing strain indicates the strong influence of the peel samples’ geometry and composition which is attributed to the fruit shape, a gradual changing density of the peel, which can be considered as a stacked array of foam layers differing in density, and the turgescence of the biological cells.



We want to thank the German Research Foundation (DFG) for funding this project within the priority program 1420 ‘Biomimetic Materials Research: Functionality by Hierarchical Structuring of Materials’.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Plant Biomechanics Group Freiburg, Botanic Garden, Faculty of BiologyUniversity of FreiburgFreiburgGermany

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