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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Arboricultural Association.

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Claus Mattheck’s Final UK Lectures – June 2018

Author:  Mick Boddy
Last Updated:  08/03/2018

We have been overwhelmed by the interest in Claus’s final UK lectures, which he will be presenting at Loughborough University in June. At the time of writing, there are a limited number of places available on Tuesday 12th and hopefully will still be by the time you read this. However, the second lecture on Wednesday 13th is already fully booked; in view of this, we are planning to repeat it on Friday 15th June.

To recap, the first day will focus on the science and art of visual tree assessment (VTA) and be aimed primarily, but not exclusively, at those who are less familiar with his work. Delegates attending the first day will receive a copy of the ‘Updated Field Guide for Visual Tree Assessment’ book.

The second lecture will be targeted more at experienced practitioners, with Claus introducing his latest book during the morning session. This is a condensed translation of his recent 500 page German book on the Body Language of Structures, entitled ‘Pauli Explains the Form in Nature’. The afternoon session will be a summary of the best of the last five years of VTA research. Delegates attending the second lecture will receive a copy of the new Pauli book.

Whilst discussing aspects of the translation of the new book with Claus, I asked him to clarify his position on the axiom of uniform stress, given that this has been the source of some recent debate. His response is copied below:

The Axiom of Uniform Stress – an iron design rule in nature

"During a quarter ‎century of research, the Biomechanics Department of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology has verified and generalized the ‘axiom of uniform stress’, which was first described, under another name, for the tapering of spruce stems by the German forester Metzger in 1893. The basic premise is that living structures that are able to grow load-adaptively will hurry to reduce locally high stresses at their surface, which might otherwise lead to failure.

Nearly every saw cut through a tree verifies this.‎ We have bigger tree rings in the wound wood beside a notch and bigger buttresses on the windward side, so the stress will remain uniform along the direction of the grain, which is the path of the major force flow. A funny example is the root biography written in the cross section! Most impressive is the I-bar root growing under pure bending.

During the second day of our June lectures it will be shown that the axiom of uniform stress also describes geomechanical structures and can be realized by deformation under load and even by failure! The axiom of uniform stress is mentioned as a basis for the standard DIN ISO 18459:2016-08 (Biomimetics – Biomimetic structural optimization), which is the design justification for an unimaginable number of components‎ driving around or serving the people on this planet. Plausible enough, because no mechanically thinking person on this earth would believe that trees like local stress peaks that could kill them in the next storm.."

Please email us to confirm availability for the first day and request a booking form:

Booking forms for the second lecture on Friday 15th June can be also be requested by email or downloaded directly from the our web site: