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Wood resists fracture: trees


Twelve grains of wood / Scan: Julo, .. / LicensePD - Public Domain

Wood of trees resists crosswise fracture via complex architecture.

"That construction of lengthwise tubes with relatively modest cross-connections gives wood its spectacular anisotropy…Crosswise, though, most woods resist fracture well, with the highest work of fracture of any rigid biological material; the orientational difference can be as much as a hundredfold (table 15.7). Not only can we use all kinds of intrusive fasteners such as nails and screws without initiating fracture, but a tree can be injured by a crosswise ax stroke and yet not crack in the next storm. A sawyer must cut almost all the way across the trunk before a healthy tree topples." (Vogel 2003:343)
About the inspiring organism

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

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Fracture-resistant poles, cables, and wires; metal alloys that are more resistant to fracture; fracture-resistant building materials; computer software to assess stress-strain curves of (potential) new composites.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Structural engineering, materials science, IT

Vogel S. 2003. Comparative Biomechanics: Life's Physical World. Princeton: Princeton University Press. 580 p.
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