Journal Article

Mechanical analysis of the strains generated by water tension in plant stems. Part I: stress transmission from the water to the cell walls

Tancrède Alméras and Joseph Gril

in Tree Physiology

Volume 27, issue 11, pages 1505-1516
Published in print November 2007 | ISSN: 0829-318X
Published online November 2007 | e-ISSN: 1758-4469 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/treephys/27.11.1505
Mechanical analysis of the strains generated by water tension in plant stems. Part I: stress transmission from the water to the cell walls

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Plant tissues shrink and swell in response to changes in water pressure. These strains can be easily measured, e.g., at the surface of tree stems, to obtain indirect information about plant water status and other physiological parameters. We developed a mechanical model to clarify how water pressure is transmitted to cell walls and causes shrinkage of plant tissues, particularly in the case of thick-walled cells such as wood fibers. Our analysis shows that the stress inside the fiber cell walls is lower than the water tension. The difference is accounted for by a stress transmission factor that depends on two main effects. The first effect is the dilution of the stress through the cell wall, because water acts at the lumen border and is transmitted to the outer border of the cell, which has a larger circumference. The second effect is the partial conversion of radial stress into tangential stress. Both effects are quantified as functions of parameters of the cell wall structure and its mechanical properties.

Keywords: biomechanics; cell mechanics; diurnal strains; mechanical model; multilayer cylinder; stress transmission factor

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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