The mechanical behavior of plant seeds as a granular or particulate material dramatically differs from the mechanical behavior of solid materials. This difference is caused by the possibility of partially autonomous movement and rotation of seeds, their mutual contacts, or due to the occurrence of the second fluid phase among the seeds at the stage of their moving or processing. For obtaining the economic effects from the seeds (energy, nutrients, livestock, etc.), seeds must often be subjected to mechanical treatment. In this context application of mechanics as science concerned with the behavior of physical bodies when subjected to forces or displacements is very important and needed. One of the goals of this chapter is therefore to provide an overview for readers who are not primarily concerned with mechanics but who are interested in the behavior of seeds in the context of biology, agriculture, and pharmacy or food industry. This chapter is therefore focused on both an overview of the principles of mechanics of granular or particulate materials and the presentation of experimental results particularly in the area of mechanical extraction of oil from seeds.
Part of the book: Seed Biology