Mechanical properties of sound and of deteriorated softwood at different length scales : Poromicromechanical modeling and experimental investigations

Detta är en avhandling från Vienna : Vienna University of Technology

Sammanfattning: Due to its natural origin and its inherent heterogeneities, mechanical properties of wood are highly anisotropic and show a broad variability, not only between different wood species, but also within a tree. Similar to other biological materials, the wood mi- crostructure is well organized and hierarchically structured from the annual rings visible to the naked eye down to the wood polymers cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin at the nanometer-scale. This thesis aims at a deeper understanding of the role of different hi- erarchical levels and their corresponding physical and chemical characteristics in relation to mechanical properties of sound wood and of deteriorated wood. This is achieved by means of micromechanical modeling and experimental analyses.This thesis starts with the re-formulation of an existing micromechanical model for the elastic behavior and elastic limit states of wood in the framework of poromechanics. The mechanical role of cell wall water at different hierarchical levels is investigated by means of this model. In a broader sense, the developed model allows to investigate the transition of eigenstresses from the cell wall to the softwood level. Moreover, this poromicromechanical model forms the basis for subsequent consideration of a microscopic failure criterion for lignin for the derivation of softwood failure stresses. The suitability of the modeling approach is underlined by a satisfactory agreement of the model-predicted failure stresses with experimental results of biaxial strength tests on Norway spruce.As a result of partly considerably different microstructural characteristics, Common yew exhibits exceptional mechanical properties compared to other softwood species. The re- lationship between microstructure and stiffness properties of Common yew and Norway spruce is investigated by means of the poromicromechanical model and mechanical tests across various length scales. Moreover, this offers the opportunity of a broader model validation. The influence of differences in microfibril angle of the S2 cell wall layer and in mass density between yew and spruce is found to be more dominant than the influence of differences in the annual ring characteristics.The suitability of the poromicromechanical model to predict changes in mechanical prop- erties upon fungal decay is demonstrated. For this purpose, relationships between mi- crostructure and mechanical properties of deteriorated wood are experimentally explored. Changes in mechanical properties and in the microstructure, measured at pine wood samples after standard wood durability tests using one brown rot fungus (Gloeophyl- lum trabeum) and one white rot fungus (Trametes versicolor), are presented. Transverse stiffnesses are revealed to be more sensitive to degradation than longitudinal stiffness, particularly as a result of pronounced degradation of hemicelluloses. Moreover, ultrason- ically derived anisotropy ratios of elastic stiffnesses allow to identify certain degradation mechanisms of the two considered fungi. The experimental campaign is complemented by micromechanical modeling. For this purpose, the micromechanical model is extended to take into account degradation-specific microstructural characteristics. 

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