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Arboriculture & Urban Forestry Online
Volume 46, Issue 4 — July 2020

Monitoring of a Cross-Sectional Vibrational Mode in the Trunk of a Palm Tree

Djamel Ouis

Abstract: Palm trees, like all other tree species, are living entities that may be subject to the attack of several natural agents which affect the strength of the trunk. The most serious of these damaging agents are parasites and rot fungi, which proliferate in the substance of the stem, destroying its cells and fibers and weakening it. Consequently, this decay affects the physical characteristics of the modes of vibration in the tree trunk regarding resonance frequency, shape, and damping. Advanced stages of rot infection in a tree trunk may reach such an extreme level that substantial amounts of its solid mass are removed, ultimately leading to a hollow trunk rather than one of substance. In cases like these, the trunk presents less resistance to forced vibrations, and the active modes affecting the cross section of the trunk exhibit decreased resonance frequency values. This paper aims to present a method based on vibrations which might be employed for tracking a specific mode of radial vibrations known as the ovalling mode. To achieve this goal, the trunk of a palm tree was set into vibration via mechanical excitation in the radial direction and its response at some specific point on the trunk was examined. This method uses a single concentrated source of excitation and two vibration sensors, which are diametrically positioned and fastened to the surface of the tree trunk. The ovalling mode might be extracted from the frequency response by adding the signals recorded by the two sensors, which are in phase for a test specimen with a perfectly circular, cylindrical shape made of homogeneous, isotropic material. This study provides a preliminary investigation into the feasibility and reliability of this nondestructive method when applied for the identification of rot hosting by the trunks of standing trees, wooden poles, and logs, as well as the level of severity of rot attack.

Keywords: Monitoring of a Cross-Sectional Vibrational Mode in the Trunk of a Palm Tree

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