Estimation of the Cellulose Microfibril Angle in Acacia mangium Wood Using Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering

  •  Tamer A. Tabet    
  •  Fauziah Haji Abdul Aziz    


The term microfibril angle, MFA in wood science refers to the angle between the direction of the helical
windings of cellulose microfibrils in the secondary cell wall, S2 layer of fibres and the long axis of the cell wall.
A method is presented for the measurement, using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), of the microfibril angle,
(MFA) and the associated standard deviation for the cellulose microfibrils in the S2 layer of the cell walls of
Acacia mangium wood. The length and orientation of the microfibrils of the cell walls in the irradiated volume of
the thin samples are measured using SAXS and scanning electron microscope, (SEM). The undetermined
parameters in the analysis are the MFA, (M) and the standard deviation (σ?) of the intensity distribution arising
from the wandering of the fibril orientation about the mean value. Nine separate pairs of values are determined
for nine different values of the angle of the incidence of the X-ray beam relative to the normal to the radial
direction in the sample. The results show good agreement. The curve distribution of scattered intensity for the
real cell wall structure is compared with that calculated with that assembly of rectangular cells with the same
ratio of transverse to radial cell wall length. It is demonstrated that for β = 45° (where β is the angle between the
plane face of the wood samples and the radial direction) the peaks in the curve intensity distribution for the real
and the rectangular cells coincide. If this peak position is ?45, Then the MFA can be determined from the relation
M = tan-1 (tan ?45 / cos 45°), which is precise for rectangular cells.

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