This article presents Phormium tenax leaves as an example of functional design. Four different ultrasonic techniques comprising air-coupling and gel coupling, longitudinal and shear waves, normal and oblique incidence and low (0.2 MHz) and high frequencies (2.25 MHz) have been employed to study these leaves. By changing these experimental conditions it is possible to propagate longitudinal and shear waves in the different tissues present in these leaves (spongy mesophyll, chlorenchyma and sclerenchyma fibres) and in different directions so it is possible to determine their ultrasonic properties (velocity and attenuation) and hence their main elastic mudulii. Additional analysis of microscopic images of the tissues permit to study the correlation between this elastic and ultrasonic tissues properties and main microscopic features like cell size and cell wall thickness, which are determined by the different function of these tissues.
Fariñas, M. D., & Álvarez-Arenas, T. E. G. (2014). Ultrasonic assessment of the elastic functional design of component tissues of phormium tenax leaves. Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials. (Volume 39, November 2014, Pp. 304–315)