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What we do

The Crop Biomechanics Lab uses tools and techniques from engineering biomechanics to solve problems in agriculture. Much of our research focuses on maize stalk lodging (i.e., structural failure of the stalk). We perform structural tests of maize stalk, measure mechanical properties of maize tissues, and create computational models of the maize stalk. Our work is focused on helping plant scientists identify the key factors that determine stalk strength. We also create portable measurement devices, and develop methods for non-destructive evaluation of pest/disease infestation.

Crop Biomechanics Lab receives $731k grant from USDA AFRI Program

This project seeks to understand how the leaf sheath influences maize stalk flexibility, strength, and vibration. We will use field tests and modeling activities to pursue these goals. The project also includes a component on automating the measurement of maize stalk mechanical properties which is being undertaken by two Capstone teams. A collaborator on this project is Dr. Rajan Sekhon of Clemson University.

Dr. Cook awarded the prestigious NSF CAREER Award

The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded Dr. Douglas Cook of the Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) award award on March 26, 2021. A description of the award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) can be found on their website here. This project will combine modern tools from the fields of biomechanics, structural engineering, and genetics to provide new understanding of the factors that contribute to stalk strength of grain crops.

Research Sponsors

Our work has been supported by the following organizations.

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