Thomas, LH, Altaner, CM, Forsyth, VT, Mossou, E, Kennedy, CJ, Martel, A and Jarvis, MC (2021) Nanostructural deformation of high-stiffness spruce wood under tension. Sci Rep, 11 (1). 453 - ?.

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Conifer wood is an exceptionally stiff and strong material when its cellulose microfibrils are well aligned. However, it is not well understood how the polymer components cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin co-operate to resist tensile stress in wood. From X-ray scattering, neutron scattering and spectroscopic data, collected under tension and processed by novel methods, the ordered, disordered and hemicellulose-coated cellulose components comprising each microfibril were shown to stretch together and demonstrated concerted, viscous stress relaxation facilitated by water. Different cellulose microfibrils did not all stretch to the same degree. Attempts were made to distinguish between microfibrils showing large and small elongation but these domains were shown to be similar with respect to orientation, crystalline disorder, hydration and the presence of bound xylan. These observations are consistent with a major stress transfer process between microfibrils being shear at interfaces in direct, hydrogen-bonded contact, as demonstrated by small-angle neutron scattering. If stress were transmitted between microfibrils by bridging hemicelluloses these might have been expected to show divergent stretching and relaxation behaviour, which was not observed. However lignin and hemicellulosic glucomannans may contribute to stress transfer on a larger length scale between microfibril bundles (macrofibrils).

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
Subjects: Q Science > Q Science (General)
Q Science > QH Natural history
Divisions: Faculty of Natural Sciences > School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Symplectic
Date Deposited: 04 Nov 2021 14:45
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2021 14:45

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