The time-dependent mechanical behaviour (TDMB) of wood is important when using the material for structural purposes. Recently, a new method for predicting the TDMB by numerical modelling was established based on the assumption that TDMB is caused by the sliding of the microfibrils past each other. In this study, the TDMB is examined via creep experiments on small specimens of Norway spruce latewood. The results of these are compared with results from numerical modelling. The experiments include results at two levels of moisture content and three levels of temperature, enabling an investigation of these two climatic factors on TDMB of wood. It was found that the mechanical response of wood tissue is the sum of responses from both tracheids and middle lamella, with only the previous being reversible. The effect of moisture and temperature differed in that the latter affected the elastic and time-dependent responses equally. Moisture, on the other hand, reduced both the elastic properties and the activation energy barrier for sliding of the microfibrils, but furthermore changed the microfibril angle of the sample as a result of swelling. Hereby, moisture had a larger effect on the time-dependent response than the elastic. All of these effects were predicted by numerical modelling.
Holzforschung, 2012, Vol 66, Issue 8, p. 20959-965