Using a mechanical properties microprobe, measurements of hardness and elastic modulus of tracheid walls in the longitudinal direction of spruce wood were obtained by continuously measuring force and displacement as a diamond indenter impressed a cell wall. Maximum mechanical properties were found at the edges of the walls of angular shaped tracheids. Both the hardness and elastic modulus of latewood cell walls were higher than cell walls in the earlywood. The high spatial resolution of this new concept of mechanical testing allows a direct comparison with ultrastructural and microchemical parameters of lignified cells which opens a wider area of applications for the understanding of intrinsic wood properties.
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