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Thin-walled tubular stems resist buckling: bamboo


Young bamboo cross-section / Aroid / LicenseCopyright - All Rights Reserved

The stems of many plants may resist buckling by including transverse bulkheads that prevent ovalization.

"The condition of having one fixed end is of particular biological interest--it's the situation of long, slender plant stems such as those of dandelions, grass, bamboo, and others…As emphasized by Schulgasser and Witztum (1992), their anisotropy greatly increases the risk of buckling for plants that use thin-walled tubular construction. Mainly, the tubes, normally circular in cross section, go somewhat oval just prior to buckling, and that reduces the critical force. Preventing that ovalization may be one of the roles of the periodic transverse bulkheads so conspicuous in, for instance, bamboo." (Vogel 2003)
About the inspiring organism
Med_533070367_c51e6f1bd5_b Bambusa

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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: Using transverse supports in thin hollow tubes for communications towers, pipes, wind turbines, ship masts, nanomaterials and other upright structures, to reduce both buckling and overall material use.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Communications, engineering, wind energy, shipping, nanotechnology

Mechanical Engineering
Kalman Schulgasser (Retired)
Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Vogel S. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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Schulgasser, K; Witztum, A. 1992. On the strength, stiffness, and stability of tubular plant stems and leaves. Journal of Theoretical Biology. 155: 497-515.
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