Determining the Transverse Dimensions of Fibers in Wood Using Confocal Microscopy

Ho Fan Jang, Rajinder S. Seth, Cheng Bao Wu, Ben K. Chan


We describe a technique for determining the transverse dimensions of individual fibers in wood using confocal laser scanning microscopy and image analysis. Optical sectioning of confocal microscopy produces high-quality cross-sectional images of large wood samples, thus eliminating the need for traditional mechanical sectioning and its inherent limitations. The relationships between fiber transverse dimensions of wood and kraft pulp fibers, in terms of their means and distributions, are now established. Measuring fibers in wood also allows us now to evaluate properties of early- and latewood separately, and to better understand the origin of heterogeneity. Relative wood density obtained from a wood section correlates strongly to the ratio of fiber wall thickness to perimeter, which is an important parameter for fiber transverse collapse. This direct and accurate method has the potential for automation, thus allowing a rapid assessment of wood quality for papermaking.


Confocal microscopy;image analysis;cell-wall thickness;fiber dimensions;wood density;wood structure

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