The Determination of Cellulose Spiral Angle by Small-Angle X-Ray Scattering from Structurally Characterized Acacia mangium Cell Wall

The spiral angle of the elementary cellulose fibril in the wood cell wall, often called microfibril angle, (MFA). Microfibril angle in hardwood is one of the key determinants of solid timber performance due to its strong influence on the stiffness, strength, shrinkage, swelling, thermal-dynamics mechanical properties and dimensional stability of wood. Variation of MFA (degree) in the S2 layer of the cell walls among Acacia mangium trees was determined using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS). The length and orientation of the microfibrils of the cell walls in the irradiated volume of the thin samples are measured using SAXS and optical microscope for 3D surface measurement. The undetermined parameters in the analysis are the MFA, (M) and the standard deviation (σФ) 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°, the peaks in the curve intensity distribution for the real and the rectangular cells coincide. If this peak position is Ф45, then the MFA can be determined from the relation M = tan-1 (tan Ф45 / cos 45°), which is precise for rectangular cells. It was found that 92.93% of the variation of MFA can be attributed to the distance from pith to bark. Here we shall present our results of the MFA in the cell wall with respect to its shape, structure and the distance from pith to park as an important fast check and yet accurate towards the quality of wood, its uses and application.