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Titre: Mechanical properties of drying plant roots: Evolution of the longitudinal Young's modulus of chick-pea roots with dessication Auteur:Vautrin, Christopher; Kurowski, Pascal; Genet, Patricia; Hattali, Lamine; Fabi, Ramon Peralta Y; Kolb, Evelyne Sujet:Condensed Matter - Soft Condensed Matter ; Physics - Biological Physics Description:
Mechanical characterizations of plant roots are of primary importance in geophysics and engineering science for implementing mechanical models for the stability of root reinforced-soils, as well as in agronomy and soil science for understanding the penetration of roots in soils and optimizing crop. Yet the mechanical properties of plant roots depend on their water content, which can drastically evolve with drying or flooding of the external soil. The present work deals with the determination of the longitudinal Young's modulus of single non-lignified plant roots, chick-peas (Cicer arietinum L.), tested in compression along their root axis for different external environments: in controlled conditions of natural drying in air or in a osmotic solution of mannitol at the isotonic concentration where no water exchange occurs between the root and the external solution. We submitted the chick-pea radicles to successive mechanical compression cycles separated by rest periods to follow the time evolution of the root mechanical properties in drying and non-drying environments. Control experiments on non-drying roots placed in isotonic osmotic solutions showed no evolution of the root's Young's modulus whose value was around 2 MPa. On the contrary, the experiments performed in air exhibited a dramatic increase of the root's Young's modulus with the drying time, sometimes by a factor of 35. Moreover, the Young's modulus in these cases was observed to scale as a decaying power-law with the root's cross section measured at diffrent times of drying. We interpreted our results in the framework of the mechanics of cellular foams.
1804.08879 (ARXIV ID)