Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 49, Issue 4, pp 1734–1742 | Cite as

Changes in the properties of wood cell walls during the transformation from sapwood to heartwood

  • Kunlin Song
  • Yafang YinEmail author
  • Lennart SalménEmail author
  • Fuming Xiao
  • Xiaomei Jiang


Changes in the chemical, viscoelastic and hygroscopic properties of wood cell walls in Chinese fir (Cunninghamia lanceolata) during the transition from sapwood to heartwood were studied to provide insights into the formation of heartwood. In situ imaging FTIR measurements indicated that the composition of the main components of cell walls remained almost unaltered, but more extractives were deposited in the wood cell walls during the sapwood–heartwood transition. Compared to the sapwood and transition wood, the heartwood had a higher softening temperature and greater activation energy, suggesting that the mobility restrictions of cell wall biopolymers were due to extractives obstructing the accessing of the plasticizer (ethylene glycol). The moisture sorption was the same from the sapwood to heartwood at a low relative humidity (RH), while the heartwood adsorbed less water at a high RH, probably caused by the extractives deposited in the matrix and mesopores of heartwood cell walls.


Lignin Dynamical Mechanical Analysis Cellulose Microfibril Moisture Sorption Wood Cell Wall 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was sponsored by the Chinese State Forestry Administration Project (201104058) and the Chinese National Natural Science Foundation (No. 30972303). Gratitude goes to the following: Mingkun Xu and Lin Liu from the Chinese Research Institute of Wood Industry for the preparation of the samples, Anne-Mari Olsson of Innventia AB for her technical help when making the Dynamic Mechanical Analysis and dynamic vapour sorption, Dr. Jasna S. Stevanic of Innventia AB, Professor Tefu Qin and Dr. Yanming Han of Chinese Research Institute of Wood Industry for their valuable advice on imaging FTIR spectroscopy. Acknowledgement must also go to the support given to Lennart Salmén from the Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wood Anatomy and Utilization Department, Research Institute of Wood IndustryChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  2. 2.Innventia ABStockholmSweden
  3. 3.Jiangxi Academy of ForestryNanchangChina

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