I know what you are thinking - what the heck is a Yonley?
Dave Yonley is one of my amazingly talented colleagues here at Eastfield College. Dave is a videographer/film maker for the college and does truly outstanding work. (He even makes me look good!)
A few weeks ago Dave was on vacation in sunny Florida, walking around and taking in the sights - the ocean, the beaches, and the palm trees.
|One of Yonley's photos from Florida|
|This is Dave Yonley. He really doesn't like to be photographed, which is kind of ironic since he spends his work day filming other people, but I conned him into posing with his palm tree bark.|
|This is the underside of the bark. Note the wide strips - probably where it was attached to the tree, and the thinner fibers in different layers. [Camera image - taken outside]|
|Another view of the underside of the bark. At first glance it looks like fabric, but unlike fabric, the fibers are not interwoven. [Camera image - taken outside.]|
|This image was taken with a dissecting microscope. You can see that the flattened strips of bark also contain fibers.|
|Here is a look at the stringy fibers deeper in the bark.|
|Scanning electron microscope view of the stringy fibers. Notice the wide range of sizes. [SEM image; 30x]|
|The diameter of a human hair is about 80 microns. Here you can see that some of these fibers are smaller than a hair. [SEM image; 369x] By the way, a micron, the unit on the image, is one-one millionth of a meter.|
|Scanning electron microscope view of the flat strips on the underside of the bark. [SEM image; 218x]|
|In this image you can begin to see the cells that make up the structure of the bark. [SEM image; 129x]|
|The cells to the left of the image divided in a flat plane. To the right of the image is a fiber which, as you will see farther down, is formed by bundles of cells. [SEM image; 450x]|
|The top of the bark has an extra layer of fuzzy fibers.|
|A closer view of the outer layer of fibers.|
|Scanning electron microscope view of fuzzy fibers. These look very much like the trichomes found on the leaves of many plants. [SEM image; 45x]|
|At this magnification you can see that these fibers are composed of strands of single cells, not bundles. [SEM image; [750x]|
|Cross-section of topmost fuzzy layer. [SEM image; 50x]|
|Cross-section of fibers with fuzzy layer at the top of the image. The red arrows indicate the single cells that make up the fuzzy layer. [SEM image; 140x]|
|Cross section of a fiber showing the arrangement of individual cells. The bundle is slightly flattened from being cut with a razor blade. [SEM image; 300x]|
What Dave found intriguing was the amazing strength of the sheet of bark collected from the palm tree, a strength resulting from many small, cellulose fibers being laid down in different directions.
Natural, super-strong structures like this, the result of evolution and cell division, have obviously influenced the development of human-engineered materials including fabrics, ropes, and even steel cables. Not bad for a palm tree.
The images in this blog are covered by a Creative Commons License. They may be downloaded, used and/or modified for non-commercial purposes.