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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 45, Issue 4 — July 2019

Numerical Analysis of Branch Mechanical Response to Loading

Barbora Vojáčková, Jan Tippner, Petr Horáček, Luděk Praus,Václav Sebera, and Martin Brabec

Abstract: Failure of a tree can be caused by a stem breakage, tree uprooting, or branch failure. While the pulling test is used for assessing the first two cases, there is no device-supported method to assess branch failure. A combination of the optical technique, pulling test, and deflection curve analysis could provide a device-supported tool for this kind of assessment. The aim of the work was to perform a structural analysis of branch response to static mechanical loading. The analyses were carried out by finite element simulations in ANSYS using beam tapered elements of elliptical cross-sections. The numerical analyses were verified by the pulling test combined with a sophisticated optical assessment of deflection evaluation. The Probabilistic Design System was used to find the parameters that influence branch mechanical response to loading considering the use of cantilever beam deflection for stability analysis. The difference in the branch’s deflection between the simulation and the experiment is 0.5% to 26%. The high variability may be explained by the variable modulus of the elasticity of branches. The finite element (FE) sensitivity analysis showed a higher significance of geometry parameters (diameter, length, tapering, elliptical cross-section) than material properties (elastic moduli). The anchorage rotation was found to be significant, implying that this parameter may affect the outcome in mechanical analysis of branch behavior. The branch anchorage can influence the deflection of the whole branch, which should be considered in stability assessment.

Keywords: Numerical Analysis of Branch Mechanical Response to Loading

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