Variation of measured cross-sectional cell dimensions and calculated water vapor permeability across a single growth ring of spruce wood
A statistical study of the cell dimensions in a growth ring of spruce along the radial and tangential directions is performed. The data are used to study the variation of the cell vapor permeability in the growth ring. Studying cell rows within one growth ring, the frequency distributions of the cell wall thickness in the radial direction and of the lumen dimension in the tangential direction are found to be both unimodal. In contrast, the frequency distributions of these dimensions in the other directions are bimodal, where the different modes can be attributed to earlywood and latewood. Analysis of the bimodal distributions results in the determination of threshold values of cell wall thickness and the lumen dimension for earlywood and latewood tracheids. The cell dimensions are used to predict cell porosity and water vapor permeability distribution within a growth ring. The bimodal frequency distributions of the tangential cell wall thickness and the radial lumen dim ension provide an explanation for the observed bimodal frequency distribution of the cell water vapor permeability both in radial and in tangential directions. Contrary to measured macroscopic vapor permeability results, the tracheid geometry results in lower cell vapor permeability in radial than in tangential direction. This confirms that rays play an important role in the vapor permeability of wood, as they can be considered as pathways for vapor transport in radial direction. The dataset analyzed in this paper leads to a set of parameters characterizing the earlywood and latewood cell dimensions. Such characterization can be used, for example, for producing synthetic data for computational modeling studies.