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A numerical model of tree aerodynamic response to a turbulent airflow

Sellier D., Brunet Y., Fourcaud T.. 2008. Forestry, 81 (3) : p. 279-297.

This study presents a predictive dynamic model developed to analyse the mechanical response of trees submitted to a turbulent airflow. This finite-element model integrates a three-dimensional description of tree architecture and is driven by fluctuating drag forces applied on all parts. For validation purposes, instantaneous wind velocities and wind-induced stem displacements of two trees were recorded in a mature Maritime pine stand (Pinus pinaster) at several heights. The tree geometrical and physical characteristics were measured to describe their architecture. No model parameter was adjusted. Tree motions appear to be driven by wind pulses reflecting turbulence intermittency. No evidence is found for resonant behaviour. In the mean wind direction, the simulated oscillations agree well with the measured time series. The underestimation of tree movement in the cross-stream direction outlines the importance of torque behaviour on the predictive accuracy of the model. The mechanical transfer functions of the modelled trees show vibration peak frequencies very similar to the measured ones. At higher frequencies, the simulated damping appears overestimated, with the set of parameters used. The model provides a sound basis to further investigate the influence of tree aerial architecture and turbulence structure on tree stability to wind. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : adaptation; anatomie végétale; arbre; pinus pinaster; résistance mécanique; résistance au vent; modèle mathématique; adaptation aux conditions du milieu

Thématique : Méthodes mathématiques et statistiques; Troubles divers des plantes; Dégâts causés aux forêts et leur protection

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