Scaling of plant roots for geotechnical centrifuge tests using juvenile live roots or 3D printed analogues

Teng Liang (Lead / Corresponding author), Anthony Bengough, Paul Hallet, Jonathan Knappett, Kenneth Loades, Gerrit Meijer, David Muir Wood

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

2 Citations (Scopus)
179 Downloads (Pure)


Geotechnical centrifuge modelling of vegetated slopes requires appropriately scaled plant roots. Recent stud-ies have independently suggested that juvenile live plants or 3D printing to fabricate root analogues could po-tentially produce representative prototype model root systems. This paper presents a critical comparison of ju-venile versus 3D printed approaches in terms of their representation of root mechanical properties, root mor-phology and distribution of the additional shear strength generated by the roots with depth. For the 3D print-ing technique, Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) plastic material was used, while for live plants, three species (Willow, Gorse and Festulolium grass), corresponding to distinct plant group functional types (tree, shrub and grass), were considered. The tensile strength and Young’s modulus of the ‘roots’ were collected from uniaxial tension tests and shear strength data of rooted soil samples was collected in direct shear. The prototype root characteristics as modelled were then compared with published results for field grown species and the benefits and challenges of using these two modelling approaches is discussed. Finally, some recom-mendations on realistically modelling plant root systems in centrifuge tests are given.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhysical Modelling in Geotechnics
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geotechnics (ICPMG 2018), July 17-20, 2018, London, United Kingdom
EditorsAndrew McNamara, Sam Divall, Richard Goodey
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages6
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-34419-8
Publication statusPublished - 24 Oct 2018
Event9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geoetchnics - City University, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 17 Jul 201820 Jul 2018


Conference9th International Conference on Physical Modelling in Geoetchnics
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


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