Mechanics of root-pullout from soil: A novel image and stress analysis procedure

O. Hamza*, A. G. Bengough, M. F. Bransby, M. C. R. Davies, P. D. Hallett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


When plants are loaded by external forces, whether they be above ground e.g. wind or canopy weight, or from within the soil e.g. soil displacement on slopes, the roots will be mechanically loaded. Exactly how the plant roots carry loads during these events is unknown because of their complex morphology and the heterogeneity of the root properties. To gain greater insight into plant root-soil mechanical interactions, a series of tests have been carried out to investigate the mechanical behaviour of roots and rubber root-analogues under tension during pull-out from soil. The results of the mechanical tests are augmented by a novel use of image analysis (specifically Particle Image Velocimetry) of sequential digital photographs taken during loading. This allows root and soil movements to be measured during the tests so that more can be learned about the effects of root morphology on the load distribution and deformation behaviour. The testing methodology and philosophy are presented here together with preliminary results.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEco- and Ground Bio-Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationThe Use of Vegetation to Improve Slope Stability
EditorsA Stokes, Spanos, JE Norris, E Cammeraat
Place of PublicationDordrecht
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)978-1-4020-5592-8
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event1st International Conference on Eco-Engineering - Thessaloniki, Greece
Duration: 13 Sep 200417 Sep 2004

Publication series



Conference1st International Conference on Eco-Engineering


  • plant-soil interaction
  • anchorage
  • architecture
  • image analysis

Cite this

Hamza, O., Bengough, A. G., Bransby, M. F., Davies, M. C. R., & Hallett, P. D. (2007). Mechanics of root-pullout from soil: A novel image and stress analysis procedure. In A. Stokes, Spanos, JE. Norris, & E. Cammeraat (Eds.), Eco- and Ground Bio-Engineering: The Use of Vegetation to Improve Slope Stability (pp. 213-221). (DEVELOPMENTS IN PLANT AND SOIL SCIENCES; Vol. 103). Springer .