Sébastien Neukirch
Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Université Pierre et Marie Curie
Paris, France

tel: +33 1 44 27 72 61
fax : +33 1 44 27 52 59
e-mail: sebastien.neukirch (-atat-) upmc.fr

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Twining Plants: How Thick Should their Supports Be?

Sébastien Neukirch and Alain Goriely

Proceedings of the 5th Plant Biomechanics Conference, Stockholm, Sweden (August 28 - September 1, 2006) pp 31--35, edited by Lennard Salmen, published by STFI - Packforsk AB, Stockholm

Abstract : When twining plants grow they revolve around a support on which they exert a force in order to achieve vertical growth. In 1865 Charles Darwin realized that twining plants cannot grow on supports that are too wide. Here, mechanical aspects of this problem are investigated by modeling the stem close to the apex as a growing planar elastic rod with intrinsic curvature. The shape and forces as a function of the pole size are obtained and a critical radius limiting growth is identified.

Key words : growth, elastic stability, contact, numerical continuation.

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