Comparison of mechanical properties of four large, wave-exposed seaweeds
Harder, DL and Hurd, CL and Speck, T, Comparison of mechanical properties of four large, wave-exposed seaweeds, American Journal of Botany, 93, (10) pp. 1426-1432. ISSN 0002-9122 (2006) [Refereed Article]
Seaweeds have a simple structural design compared to most terrestrial plants. Nonetheless, some species have adapted to the severe mechanical conditions of the surf zone. The material properties of either tissue sections or the whole stipe of four wave-exposed seaweeds, Durvillaea antarctica, D. willana, Laminaria digitata, and L. hyperborea, were tested in tension, bending, and torsion. has a very low modulus of elasticity in tension (Etension = 3–7 MN · m−2) and in bending (Ebending = 9–12 MN · m−2), torsion modulus (G = 0.3 MN · m−2) and strength (σbrk = 1–2 MN · m−2), combining a compliable and twistable stipe "material" with a comparatively high breaking strain (εbrk = 0.4–0.6). In comparison, the smaller stipes of Laminaria have a higher modulus of elasticity in tension (Etension = 6–28 MN · m−2) and in bending (Ebending = 84–109 MN · m−2), similar strength (σbrk = 1–3 MN · m−2), and a higher torsion modulus (G = 0.7–10 MN · m−2), combined with a lower breaking strain (εbrk = 0.2–0.3) than Durvillaea. Time-dependent, viscoelastic reactions were investigated with cycling tests. The tested species dissipated 42–52% of the loading energy in tension through plastic-viscoelastic processes, a finding that bears important ecological implications. Overall, there seems to be no correlation between single material properties and the size or habitat position of the tested seaweed species.
seaweed, biomechanics, species comparison, waves, Durvillaea, Laminaria, modulus of elasticity, Phaeophyceae, tension tests, wave exposure