Mechanical Properties of Green Wood and Their Relevance
for Tree Risk Assessment
Hanns Christof Spatz and Jochen Pfisterer
Abstract: In a biological context, the mechanical properties as elasticity and strength of green wood, particularly as measured in the axial direction, influence the stability of trees against static loads (e.g., snow, ice, rain) and dynamic loads (i.e., wind). Extensive collections of data on mechanical properties are listed in three different catalogs edited in Canada, Great Britain, and the United States. A statistical analysis shows that the density of the wood is a major predictor for the mechanical properties as measured in axial direction. In this respect, conifers from temperate zones and deciduous trees both from temperate and tropical zones do not differ significantly from each other. A common, nearly linear relation between the modulus of elasticity and the density at 50% moisture content is found. Relationships between strengths in bending, compression, and shear and green wood density have ordinary least squares scaling exponents around 1.2, but can almost equally well be approximated by linear functions of wood density. Therefore, if the density of stem wood of a given tree is known from direct measurement and differs from the tabulated value, the values tabulated for mechanical properties can be corrected for by a simple rule of proportion. Pulling tests as tools for tree control are discussed with emphasis on how the method is based on the knowledge of the mechanical properties of green wood, and how wood density is measured.
Keywords: Conifers; Deciduous trees; Elasticity; Green wood; Pulling Tests; Strength; Wood density.