Bending Stress in Plant Stems: Models and Assumptions

  • Christopher J. Stubbs
  • Navajit S. Baban
  • Daniel J. Robertson
  • Loay Alzube
  • Douglas D. CookEmail author


Analytic expressions for bending stress can be used to predict mechanical stresses and failure of plant stems. However, the nonuniform shape and anisotropic material properties of plant stems contradict several assumptions that are typically used in the derivation of bending stress equations. The purpose of this chapter is to analyze each of these assumptions to determine the accuracy with which beam theory can predict stresses in plant stems. Finite element models of plant stems were used to investigate and quantify the effect of each assumption. Finally, experimental case-study data was used to illustrate the applications of these equations. The goal of this work is to enable researchers to make informed decisions regarding mechanical models of plant stems used to predict of measure mechanical behavior of plants and plant tissues.


Plant stems Stress Modeling Assumptions Bending Beams Maize 



This work was supported by funding from the National Science Foundation (Award #1400973), the United States Department of Agriculture (Award #2016-67012-24685) and the New York University Abu Dhabi Global Ph.D. Fellowship.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher J. Stubbs
    • 4
  • Navajit S. Baban
    • 1
  • Daniel J. Robertson
    • 3
  • Loay Alzube
    • 1
  • Douglas D. Cook
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.New York UniversityAbu DhabiUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Brigham Young UniversityProvoUSA
  3. 3.University of IdahoIdahoUSA
  4. 4.New York UniversityBrooklynUSA

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