Small-angle scattering model for efficient characterization of wood nanostructure and moisture behaviour

Paavo A. Penttilä*, Lauri Rautkari, Monika Österberg, Ralf Schweins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
313 Downloads (Pure)


Small-angle scattering methods allow an efficient characterization of the hierarchical structure of wood and other cellulosic materials. However, their full utilization would require an analytical model to fit the experimental data. This contribution presents a small-angle scattering model tailored to the analysis of wood samples. The model is based on infinitely long cylinders packed in a hexagonal array with paracrystalline distortion, adapted to the particular purpose of modelling the packing of cellulose microfibrils in the secondary cell wall of wood. The new model has been validated with small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering data from real wood samples at various moisture contents. The model yields reasonable numerical values for the microfibril diameter (2.1–2.5 nm) and packing distance (4 and 3 nm in wet and dry states, respectively) and comparable results between the two methods. It is particularly applicable to wet wood samples and allows changes in the packing of cellulose microfibrils to be followed as a function of moisture content.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-377
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Crystallography
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • cellulose
  • moisture behaviour
  • small-angle scattering
  • structural characterization
  • wood


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