Applied Physics A

, Volume 79, Issue 8, pp 2069–2073

Mechanical properties of spruce wood cell walls by nanoindentation

  • W. Gindl
  • H.S. Gupta
  • T. Schöberl
  • H.C. Lichtenegger
  • P. Fratzl


In order to study the effects of structural variability, nanoindentation experiments were performed in Norway spruce cell walls with highly variable cellulose microfibril angle and lignin content. Contrary to hardness, which showed no statistically significant relationship with changing microfibril angle and lignin content, the elastic modulus of the secondary cell wall decreased significantly with increasing microfibril angle. While the elastic moduli of cell walls with large microfibril angle agreed well with published values, the elastic moduli of cell walls with small microfibril angle were clearly underestimated in nanoindentation measurements. Hardness measurements in the cell corner middle lamella allowed us to estimate the yield stress of the cell-wall matrix to be 0.34±0.16 GPa. Since the hardness of the secondary cell wall was statistically not different from the hardness of the cell corner middle lamella, irrespective of high variability in cellulose microfibril angle, it is proposed that compressive yielding of wood-cell walls is a matrix-dominated process.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. Gindl
    • 1
  • H.S. Gupta
    • 2
  • T. Schöberl
    • 3
  • H.C. Lichtenegger
    • 4
  • P. Fratzl
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Materials Science and Process EngineeringBOKU ViennaViennaAustria
  2. 2.Department of BiomaterialsMax Planck Institute of Colloids and InterfacesPotsdamGermany
  3. 3.Erich Schmid Institute for Materials ScienceAustrian Academy of SciencesLeobenAustria
  4. 4.Institute for Materials Science & TestingVienna University of TechnologyViennaAustria

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