A Continuum Model of Elephant Trunks

[+] Author and Article Information
J. F. Wilson

School of Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

U. Mahajan, S. A. Wainwright, L. J. Croner

Duke University, Durham, NC 27706

J Biomech Eng 113(1), 79-84 (Feb 01, 1991) (6 pages) doi:10.1115/1.2894088 History: Received October 03, 1988; Revised September 15, 1990; Online March 17, 2008


A continuum model is presented that relates the trunk parameters of loading, geometry, and muscle structure to the necessary conditions of static equilibrium. Linear theory for stress-strain behavior is used to describe an elephant trunk for an incremental displacement as the animal slowly lifts a weight at the trunk tip. With this analysis and experimental values for the trunk parameters, the apparent trunk stiffness Ea is estimated for the living animal. For an Asian elephant with a maximum compression strain of 33 percent, Ea is of the order of 106 N/m2 . The continuum model is quite general and may be applied to similar nonskeletal appendages and bodies of other animals.

Copyright © 1991 by The American Society of Mechanical Engineers
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