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Title: The toughness of secondary cell wall and woody tissue
Authors: Lucas, P.W.
Tan, H.T.W. 
Cheng, P.Y.
Issue Date: 1997
Citation: Lucas, P.W., Tan, H.T.W., Cheng, P.Y. (1997). The toughness of secondary cell wall and woody tissue. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 352 (1351) : 341-352. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: The 'across grain' toughness of 51 woods has been determined on thin wet sections using scissors. The moisture content of sections and the varying sharpness of the scissor blades had little effect on the results. In thin sections (< 0.6 mm), toughness rose linearly with section thickness. The intercept toughness at zero thickness, estimated from regression analysis, was proportional to relative density, consistent with values reported for non-woody plant tissues. Extrapolation of the intercept toughness of these woods and other plant tissues/materials to a relative density of 1.0 predicted a toughness of 3.45 kJ m -2, which we identify with the intrinsic toughness of the cell wall. This quantity appears to predict published results from K(IC) tests on woods and is related to the propensity for crack deflection. The slope of the relationship between section thickness and toughness, describing the work of plastic buckling of cells, was not proportional to relative density, the lightest (balsa) and heaviest (lignum vitae) woods fracturing with less plastic work than predicted. The size of the plastic zone around the crack tip was estimated to be 0.5 mm in size. From this, the hypothetical overall toughness of a thick (> 1 mm) block of solid cell wall material was calculated as 39.35 kJ m -62, due to both cell wall resistance (10%) and the plastic buckling of cells (90%). This value successfully predicts the toughness of most commercial woods (of relative densities between 0.2 and 0.8) from 'work area' tests in tension and bending. Though density was the most important factor, both fibre width/fibre length (in hardwoods) and lignin/cellulose ratios were negatively correlated with the work of plastic buckling, after correcting for density. At low densities, the work of plastic buckling in the longitudinal radial (LR) direction exceeded that in longitudinal tangential (LT), but the reverse was true for relative densities above 0.25. This could be attributed to the direction of rays. Density for density, the toughness of temperate hardwoods tested was about 20% lower than that of tropical hardwoods. This is probably due to the much greater number of vessels in temperate hardwoods. Vessels appear either not to display buckling behaviour during fracture at all or to collapse cheaply. These general results have applications to other plant tissues.
Source Title: Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
ISSN: 09628436
DOI: 10.1098/rstb.1997.0025
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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