Contributions of Basic Chemical Components to the Mechanical Behavior of Wood Fiber Cell Walls as Evaluated by Nanoindentation

Xinzhou Wang, Yanjun Li, Yuhe Deng, Wangwang Yu, Xuqin Xie, Siqun Wang


Selective chemical extraction was applied to gradually remove classes of chemical components from wood cell walls. Nanoindentation was performed on the control and treated wood cell walls to evaluate the contributions of the chemical components to the cell walls by measuring the elastic modulus, hardness, and creep compliance. Burger’s model was applied to simulate the process of nanoindentation and to gain insight into the response of visco-elastic properties to the chemical components. Wood extractives showed limited effects on the cell-wall mechanics; however, the removal of hemicelluloses and lignin resulted in reductions of 11.7% and 28.4%, respectively, in the elastic modulus and 14.8% and 30.4%, respectively, in the hardness. The extraction of hemicelluloses and lignin reduced the resistance of wood cell walls to creep. Furthermore, the extracted parameters from Burger’s modeling indicated that cellulose exhibited the greatest influence on the mechanical properties of wood cell wall, while hemicelluloses exhibited the greatest contribution to cell-wall viscosity, and lignin contributed extensively to cell-wall elasticity.


Cell wall; Chemical component; Mechanical behavior; Nanoindentation

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