Featured Scholar: Alison Trachet

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Featured Scholar: Alison Trachet
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, Fla.
University of Florida
Publication Date:


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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Featured Scholar:
Alison Trachet
2005 - 2006 University Scholar
Mentor: Perry Green

That is a question many Florldians pondered last
hurricane season and Gainesville native Alison
Trachet hoped to get to the bottom of with her
University Scholars Program research.

A civil engineering major, Trachet worked with former Civil and Coastal Engineering
Assistant Professor Perry Green on a study examining the elasticity of live oak trees and
how pruning effects trunk stress caused by wind loading. She conducted two types of
bend tests on three different variables: green versus dry wood, bark removed versus
bark left on the trunk, and the sample versus the entire trunk.

The first test examined a 1" x 1" x 16" section of trunk set up as a simply-supported
beam with a centrally applied load. For the second test, a four-foot section of the trunk
was attached as a cantilever beam and pulled horizontally by an actuator, while the
deflection of the trunk and the load applied were measured. It was hoped the results of
these two tests would determine if there is any difference between the modulus of
elasticity of green wood and that of dry wood and the whole trunk versus a section of it,
and if bark provides any additional structural support.

"Unfortunately, when we got our data back, the statistical analysis could not be
performed because we didn't have normally distributed data," Trachet says. "So
somewhere along the line either there was a glitch in our equations or with the program
that we used-we are not really sure-but basically, we could not come to any definite
conclusions. It was disappointing and a hard lesson to learn, but now I'm prepared for
graduate school. There is nothing I can't handle"

Trachet came to UF as a Bright Futures Scholar after graduating from Buchholz High
School in 2001. She has served as a mentor for the Engineering Freshman Transition
Program in her college and is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. She
was the 2004-2005 president of the engineering honors society, Tau Beta Pi, and has
received the dean's scholarship in her college. She plans to graduate in May 2006 and go
on to graduate school in civil and coastal engineering.


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