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Plant biomechanics

Julian F. V. Vincent szsvinct at uk.ac.reading
Wed Aug 25 03:42:39 EST 1993

Mostly current awareness . . . we have been working on mechanical
properties and design of plants for some time.  At present we have three
projects: fracture properties of wheat grains (for flour milling),
mechanical properties of potato and sugar beet (we're also modelling the
cellular material mathematically - this is in conjunction with Unilever,
University of Stirling, John Innes, Potato MB and British Sugar.  It's a
DTI-LINK project), and we're just starting an SERC-CASE project with
Zeneca looking at effects of transgenic modifications to lignification in
Nicotiana.  This project will eventually include modelling of a non-woody
plant stem (which we started some years ago looking at Taraxacum flowering
stem).  We've also worked on grass (mostly aspects of fracture, so it
concerns animals feeding on it) and a number of other plants and plant
products (e.g. nuts).

The other reason for this note is to say that we (the Reading University
Centre for Biomimetics, that is) are involved with the organisation of an
international meeting on the mechanical design of plants and all that
leads to (theory, engineering, materials, agriculture, food science) in
Montpellier in early September 1994.  Anyone interested let me know and
I'll get you put on the mailing list.

Julian Vincent
Reading University Centre for Biomimetics
szsvinct at reading.uk

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