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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

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Study of the transverse liquid flow paths in pine and spruce using scanning electron microscopy


Samples of pine (Pinus sylvestris) and spruce (Picea abies) were impregnated with a low-viscous epoxy resin using a vacuum process. The epoxy was cured in situ and the specimens sectioned. Deposits of the cured epoxy was then observed in the wood cavities using a scanning electron microscope. The investigation concentrated on tracing the transverse movements of a viscous liquid in the wood, and special attention was therefore given to the cross-field area between ray cells and longitudinal tracheids. A damage hypothesis is proposed based on the results obtained in the present investigation in combination with those from earlier studies on linseed oil-impregnated pine: In addition to the morphology of the bordered pits, viscous liquid flow in wood is dependent on damage that occurs during the impregnation procedure. For pine sapwood, liquid flow is enabled through disrupted window pit membranes, which divide the longitudinal tracheids and the ray parenchyma cells. A mechanism accounting for the reduced permeability of pine heartwood is believed to be deposits of higher-molecular-weight substances (extractives) in the ray parenchyma cells and on the cell walls. In spruce the thicker ray cells in combination with the smaller pits, which are connected to the longitudinal tracheids, reduce permeability considerably.


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Correspondence to Tomas Olsson.

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Olsson, T., Megnis, M., Varna, J. et al. Study of the transverse liquid flow paths in pine and spruce using scanning electron microscopy. J Wood Sci 47, 282–288 (2001).

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Key words

  • Impregnation
  • Microstructure
  • Liquid flow path
  • Microscopy