The Mechanical Properties of Tendril of Climbing Plant
Tendril is a threadlike specialized stem, leaf or petiole used by climbing plants for support and attachment. The spiral contraction which occurs after a tendril has caught an object is of great use to the climbing plant. The spiral contraction can drags up the shoot thus there is no waste of growth. Besides, a far more important use rendered by the spiral contraction of the tendrils is that they are thus made highly elastic so that the force is distributed between several adjacent attached tendrils; and this renders the whole far stronger than it otherwise would be, as the tendrils cannot break separately. It is this elasticity that protects the plants from being torn away from their supports during stormy weather or pulled by object. In this study, the mechanical properties of Luffa tendrils were investigated. By using tensile experiments and finite element analyses, the time dependent mechanical properties of attached mature tendrils of Luffa under tensile loads were investigated. The improvement of supporting capability of Luffa tendrils due to spiral contraction was quantified. The results of the finite element analyses showed the maximum tensile force on a tendril can be reduced more than 58% due to distributing force to 4 adjacent attached tendrils when applied concentrated force on the stem.
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