Legacy Meeting Papers and Unpublished Manuscripts of J. Robert Cooke

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This is a collection of non-peer-reviewed ASAE (now ASABE) meeting papers. Most of these manuscripts were subsequently published in peer-reviewed venues. However, this is the sole, online source for a number of these “stranded” papers. We share these now, hoping that these retain some value for future generations.

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01 Stomatal Control System -- These papers explore the role of stomata, the microscopic pores on the surfaces of higher plants. The stomata mediate the exchanges of water vapor and carbon dioxide between the plant and its environment. We explored stomatal spacing, the structural mechanics of the guard cells, the transient and periodic behavior of stomatal movements, the nonlinear oscillations that occur under certain stress conditions, and the practical implications of these oscillations for plants, including on transpiration, assimilation, and water-use efficiency.

02 Plant Biomechanics -- In addition to the major thrust concerning stomata, this group explored function and form in plant biology from the perspective of engineers. Most of these studies heavily utilized mathematics to uncover new relationships. For example, predicting the surface area and volume of growing fruits, non-destructively exploring the internal material properties of fruits by examining the whole-body mechanical resonance (“apple quakes”), oxygen diffusion through potato tissue, detecting bruise damage to harvested apple fruits, fluid transport through the phloem, the mechanics of roots growing through the soil, and the process of exudation of sap to infer the water status in plants.

03 Fruit Harvesting -- We provided a theoretical basis for understanding fruit detachment by oscillatory shaking of the tree, and by limb impact and tree trunk impacts. A double physical pendulum model was studied in detail, including predicting the normal mode behavior and nonlinear resonances. High-speed videos were used for verification. The finite element method was used to study impact loading, and high-speed videos were produced to corroborate these studies. Young’s modulus was shown to vary along the length of an apple tree limb.

04 Eggshell Strength -- Eggshell breakage is a major economic issue for the poultry industry. We contributed to this much-studied issue for both mechanical and thermally induced breakage. We examined breakage using a flat plate loading and the breakage resulting from the hot water washing of eggs. Surprisingly, when heated in hot water, the contents of the egg expand, while the enclosed volume of the shell shrinks, thus producing breakage as the resulting internal pressure increases. A finite element study of a fluid-filled, ovaloid shell confirmed the approximate results of a simple fluid-filled, spherical shell model.

05 Other topics –– My early work on particulate size for biological control in crop pest management is reported. Much later, an analysis of the electrostatic nozzle design is an offshoot of that early interest. Coupled heat and mass transfer in the soil was explored, using the finite difference method, when digital computers became available to us. Likewise, a tutorial paper on how to measure the moisture diffusion coefficient for water in the soil made use of Laplace transforms. A class project to calculate the pulse rate for bombardier beetle discharges is included. Two non-biologically related topics (conditioning ventilation air by passing it through a buried pipe in the soil and subsurface floor heating) round out this collection.

06 Software -- The advent of personal computers energized a decade of intense software development. An emerging computational tool (the finite element method) was ported from mainframe computers to run on microcomputers in order to capitalize on using a graphical interface for input and output. We produced software for the Apple II, the Macintosh, and the IBM-PC computers to solve problems governed by Poisson’s equation and linear elasticity. Other educational applications included managing course information such as grades, a word processor for writing mathematics-laden manuscripts, a database for constructing examinations from a database of test items, and managing databases of bibliographic and video content. StomateTutor and the finite element software were honored with national awards.

07 Educational Materials -- This collection contains a description of the problem- solving course in which I taught students how to use mathematics as a tool for analysis and interpretation. Other preprints describe our work in porting the finite element method to microcomputers for instructional usage and, in addition, describing the rapidly emerging “microcomputer revolution” and its implications for higher education.

08 Institutional Studies -- My interest in institutional studies emerged in order to support my administrative efforts as Coordinator of Graduate Studies in the Field of Agricultural Engineering, as Director of Resident Instruction for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and later as Dean of the Cornell University Faculty. Most of these were motivated by my desire to anticipate long-term trends, such as enrollment shifts, and the ever-rising pressure that is driving tuition skyward towards a crisis point for higher education. My guiding principle has been that a better, rational, quantitative understanding of these forces can lead to remedies. These analyses led us to pursue an open-access, digital, publishing thrust via The Internet-First University Press and this digital repository.


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