, Volume 26, Issue 3, pp 2099–2108 | Cite as

Estimating the transverse dimensions of cellulose fibres in wood and paper using 2D and 3D microscopy techniques

  • N. J. McIntosh
  • Y. Sharma
  • D. M. Martinez
  • J. A. Olson
  • A. B. PhillionEmail author
Original Research


We describe a duo of experimental methods for determining the transverse dimensions of individual wood fibres using 2D optical microscopy and 3D X-ray tomography. These non-invasive optical sectioning methods, in conjunction with segmentation through image analysis, enables in situ identification of individual fibres in a paper sheet. The relationship between local fibre dimensions, i.e. diameter and fibre wall thickness, are established for kraft (NBSK) pulp fibres and compared to values obtained from wood. For the first time, we propose a criterion for transverse fibre collapse during the papermaking process that is based on both fibre diameter and wall thickness.

Graphical abstract


Softwood fibres Paper physics Characterization 2D optical microscopy 3D X-ray tomography Delaunay triangulation Lumen tracking 



The authors thank Canfor Pulp Products Inc. and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) for funding this work. A large portion of the optical microscopy work was completed as part of the Energy Reduction in Mechanical Pulping research program at The University of British Columbia, all of the program partners are thanked for their support.


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Chemical and Biological EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Mechanical EngineeringThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Materials Science and EngineeringMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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