Understanding structure-property relationships for wood cell walls has been hindered by the complex polymeric structures comprising these cell walls and the difficulty in assessing meaningful mechanical property measurements of individual cell walls. To help overcome these hindrances, we have developed two experimental methods: 1) two-dimensional solution state nuclear magnetic resonance (2D NMR) spectroscopy for chemical analysis of near-native state wood polymers, and 2) broadband nanoindentation spectroscopy (BNS) to more accurately assess mechanical properties of individual wood cell walls. Our approach to utilizing these two methods in the study of cell wall structure-property relationships is to first alter the cell wall through some type of modification, then use 2D NMR to determine what reactions took place in the cell wall polymers, and finally BNS to determine the changes in mechanical properties. These techniques have found utility in a wide range of wood science applications, including evaluating the validity of several theories on the bonding mechanism of isocyanate adhesives and determining changes of cell walls after acetylation.
Jakes, Joseph E.; Yelle, Daniel J.; Frihart, Charles R. 2011. Tools to understand structural property relationships for wood cell walls. In: Proceedings book Italic 6, Science & Technology of Biomasses: Advances and Challenges; 2011 September 5-8. Viterbo, Italy. pp. 81-84.