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 contribution||An analysis of the structural efficiency of trees|
|Pages (from-to)||177 - 193|
|Journal||Journal of Engineering Design|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|