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Wood and paper properties by x-ray diffractometry
The association between microfibril angle (MFA) and wood fibre stiffness has been studied for well over half a century. One of the many methods for estimating MFA is x-ray diffractometry. SilviScan, a suite of instruments for the measurement of wood microstructure, includes a scanning x-ray diffractometer and a scanning x-ray densitometer. The other principal function of SilviScan is automated image analysis of the transverse cellular structure. Although the initial purpose of the diffractometer was to estimate MFA in wood, I have found that it could be calibrated for the direct estimation of other wood properties such as longitudinal modulus of elasticity (MOE), modulus of rupture (MOR), fibre orientation (spiral grain, diving grain) and longitudinal shrinkage and some softwood paper handsheet properties such as density, tear index and tear*tensile product (a useful measure of fibre quality). Some of these calibrations require the additional measurement of wood density which is conveniently obtained from the scanning x-ray densitometer. In this presentation, I will outline the principles of x-ray diffractometry of wood as implemented in SilviScan and its various applications to wood and paper science.