An analysis of the structural efficiency of trees

SC Burgess, D Pasini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper presents an analysis of the structural features of trees in order to understand how high levels of mass-efficiency are achieved and to identify lessons for engineering designers. Structural features are identified from a literature survey and also by observations and measurements of mature trees in the UK. The functions of the structural features are identified using a function-means tree. The mass-efficiency of the structural features is modelled and assessed using first-order stress analysis. A comparison is made between the structural features found in trees and those used in engineering. There are many similarities between the structural features in trees and engineering. However, there are a few aspects that are mostly unique to trees such as the existence of important non-structural functions in structural members and the presence of adaptive growth. These features may indicate how future engineering structures will be designed.
Translated title of the contributionAn analysis of the structural efficiency of trees
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177 - 193
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Publication statusPublished - 2004

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Taylor and Francis


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