|Tree growth stress and related problems |
(Article) Publié: Journal Of Wood Science, vol. 63 p.411–432 (2017)
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Tree growth stress, resulted from the combined effects of dead weight increase and cell wall maturation in the growing trees, fulfills biomechanical functions by enhancing the strength of growing stems and by controlling their growth orientation. Its value after new wood formation , named maturation stress, can be determined by measuring the instantaneously released strain at stem periphery. Exceptional levels of longitudinal stress are reached in reaction wood, in the form of compression in gymnosperms or higher-than-usual tension in angiosperms, inspiring theories to explain the generation process of the maturation stress at the level of wood fiber: the synergistic action of compressive stress generated in the amorphous lignin– hemicellulose matrix and tensile stress due to the shortening of the crystalline cellulosic framework is a possible driving force. Besides the elastic component, growth stress bears viscoelastic components that are locked in the matured cell wall. Delayed recovery of locked-in components is triggered by increasing temperature under high moisture content: the rheological analysis of this hygrothermal recovery offers the possibility to gain information on the mechanical conditions during wood formation. After tree felling, the presence of residual stress often causes processing defects during logging and lumbering, thus reducing the final yield of harvested resources. In the near future, we expect to develop plantation forests and utilize more wood as industrial resources; in that case, we need to respond to their large growth stress. Thermal treatment is one of the possible countermeasures: green wood heating involves the hygrothermal recovery of vis-coelastic locked-in growth strains and tends to counteract the effect of subsequent drying. Methods such as smoke drying of logs are proposed to increase the processing yield at a reasonable cost.