Structure–function relationships in hardwood – insight from micromechanical modelling

De Borst, K. and Bader, T.K. (2014) Structure–function relationships in hardwood – insight from micromechanical modelling. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 345, pp. 78-91. (doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2013.12.013)

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A micromechanical model is presented that predicts the stiffness of wood tissues in their three principal anatomical directions, across various hardwood species. The wood polymers cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin, common to all wood tissues, serve as the starting point. In seven homogenisation steps, the stiffnesses of these polymers are linked to the macroscopic stiffness. The good agreement of model predictions and corresponding experimental data for ten different European and tropical species confirms the functionality and accuracy of the model.

The model enables investigating the influence of individual microstructural features on the overall stiffness. This is exploited to elucidate the mechanical effects of vessels and ray cells. Vessels are shown to reduce the stiffness of wood at constant overall density. This supports that a trade-off exists between the hydraulic efficiency and the mechanical support in relation to the anatomical design of wood. Ray cells are shown to act as reinforcing elements in the radial direction.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:De Borst, Dr Karin
Authors: De Borst, K., and Bader, T.K.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Infrastructure and Environment
Journal Name:Journal of Theoretical Biology
Publisher:Elsevier Ltd.
ISSN (Online):1095-8541

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