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Synergistic Effects of Chiral Morphology and Reconfiguration in Cattail Leaves

Abstract

Cattail, a type of herbaceous emergent aquatic macrophyte, has upright-standing leaves with a large slenderness ratio and a chiral morphology. With the aim of understanding the effect of chiral morphology on their mechanical behavior, we investigated, both experimentally and theoretically, the twisting chiral morphologies and wind-adaptive reconfigurations of cattail leaves. Their multiscale structures were observed by using optical microscope and scanning electron microscopy. Their mechanical properties were measured by uniaxial tension and three-point bending tests. By modeling a chiral leaf as a pre-twisted cantilever-free beam, fluid dynamics simulations were performed to elucidate the synergistic effects of the leaf’s chiral morphology and reconfiguration in wind. It was observed that the leaves have evolved multiscale structures and superior mechanical properties, both of which feature functionally gradient variations in the height direction, to improve their ability to resist lodging failure by reducing the maximal stress. The synergistic effect of chiral morphology and reconfiguration can greatly improve the survivability of cattail plants in wind.

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Correspondence to Hongping Zhao or Xiqiao Feng.

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Zhao, Z., Huang, W., Li, B. et al. Synergistic Effects of Chiral Morphology and Reconfiguration in Cattail Leaves. J Bionic Eng 12, 634–642 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1016/S1672-6529(14)60153-0

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S1672-6529(14)60153-0

Keywords

  • cattail
  • chiral morphology
  • reconfiguration
  • fluid-structure interaction
  • lodging resistance