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Individual Highlight

Developing tools to assess mechanical properties of wood cell walls

Atomic force microscope image of nanoindents placed in a Loblolly pine cell wall. For perspective, a typical human hair is about 50 m in diameter. Joseph E. Jakes, Forest ServiceSnapshot : Nanoindentation is a tool capable of probing mechanical properties at the sub-micrometer level, such as in wood cell walls, individual components in a wood-based composite, coatings, adhesive bondlines, etc. However, conventional nanoindentation methods are often not applicable and provide qualitative information at best. Therefore, reserachers developed advanced nanoindentation methods to increase the value of nanoindentation in understanding wood properties and developing advanced composites.

Principal Investigators(s) :
Jakes, Joseph 
Research Station : Forest Products Laboratory (FPL)
Year : 2011
Highlight ID : 290


Wood and wood-based composites have multiple levels of organization that are distinguished by the size of the components within the level. The properties at each level derive from the properties of the smaller components in the lower levels of organization. To better understand the bulk mechanical properties of these materials and develop new and improved advanced composites, including nanocomposites, researchers need better tools to assess the properties of the smaller components. Nanoindentation is capable of probing the mechanical properties of small components, which are inaccessible by other techniques. However, conventional nanoindentation methodologies were developed for testing inorganic materials, such as ceramic thin film systems used in the electronics industry. These methods are not always applicable to problems in wood research and are often qualitative at best. To address these issues, we developed advanced nanoindentation methods to increase the utility of the nanoindentation in wood science research. Our methods are being employed in many areas, including the development of advanced wood-based nanocomposites and to better understand wood-adhesive interactions.

Forest Service Partners

External Partners

  • University of Wisconsin - Madison

Program Areas