Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Characterisation of properties of coniferous wood tracheids by x-ray diffraction, laser scattering and microscopy

Matti-Paavo Sarén

Doctoral dissertation, May 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Sciences and The Finnish Forest Research Institute, Vantaa Research Unit and University of Oulu, Measurement and Sensor Laboratory.

In recent years there has been growing interest in selecting suitable wood raw material to increase end product quality and to increase the efficiency of industrial processes. Genetic background and growing conditions are known to affect properties of growing trees, but only a few parameters reflecting wood quality, such as volume and density can be measured on an industrial scale. Therefore research on cellular level structures of trees grown in different conditions is needed to increase understanding of the growth process of trees leading to desired wood properties.

In this work the cellular and cell wall structures of wood were studied. Parameters, such as the mean microfibril angle (MFA), the spiral grain angles, the fibre length, the tracheid cell wall thickness and the cross-sectional shape of the tracheid, were determined as a function of distance from the pith towards the bark and mutual dependencies of these parameters were discussed. Samples from fast-grown trees, which belong to a same clone, grown in fertile soil and also from fertilised trees were measured. It was found that in fast-grown trees the mean MFA decreased more gradually from the pith to the bark than in reference stems. In fast-grown samples cells were shorter, more thin-walled and their cross-sections were rounder than in slower-grown reference trees. Increased growth rate was found to cause an increase in spiral grain variation both within and between annual rings.

Furthermore, methods for determination of the mean MFA using x-ray diffraction were evaluated. Several experimental arrangements including the synchrotron radiation based microdiffraction were compared. For evaluation of the data analysis procedures a general form for diffraction conditions in terms of angles describing the fibre orientation and the shape of the cell was derived. The effects of these parameters on the obtained microfibril angles were discussed. The use of symmetrical transmission geometry and tangentially cut samples gave the most reliable MFA values.

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Last updated 26.04.2006

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