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Hygroscopic swelling of moso bamboo cells

  • Qi Chen
  • Changhua Fang
  • Ge Wang
  • Xinxin Ma
  • Meiling Chen
  • Shuqin Zhang
  • Chunping DaiEmail author
  • Benhua FeiEmail author
Original Research


Bamboo is a natural cellulosic material which is strongly reactive to water. Its hygroscopic behavior affects almost all other physical and mechanical properties of bamboo. This study investigated the hygroscopic swelling of moso bamboo (Phyllostachys edulis) cells in response to changes in environmental humidity using a confocal laser scanning microscope. The swelling strains of fiber, vessel and parenchyma cells were obtained and compared. The interactions between adjacent cells were also analyzed. The results demonstrated that the swelling strain of the cell walls increased with relative humidity, and was independent of its location and orientation, but dependent on the cell type. The absolute swelling of fiber cells was highest among all cells because of dominantly high fiber wall thickness. In contrast, the relative swelling of fiber cells was lowest due to constraint of adjacent fibers. Fiber cells governed the deformation and movement of other cell lumens. The difference between tangential and radial swelling of bamboo was insignificant compared to that of wood, possibly due to the similar microfibril angle in both directions, the circular cell shape and the random embedment of vascular bundles.


Bamboo Hygroscopic swelling Cell wall Cell lumen Moisture adsorption Dimensional stability 



The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from 13th Five-Year the National key Research and Development projects (2016YFD0600906) and the Fundamental Research Funds for the International Centre for Bamboo and Rattan (1632017001). This study is supported by Zhejiang Xinzhou Bamboo-based Composites Technology Co., Ltd. and support of FPInnovations is also gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiomaterialsInternational Centre for Bamboo and RattanBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.SFA and Beijing Co-Built Key Laboratory of Bamboo and Rattan Science and TechnologyState Forestry AdministrationBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Department of Wood Science, Faculty of ForestryUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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