A three-dimensional paradigm of fiber orientation in timber

Christina Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Knowledge of the three-dimensional orthogonal directions of wood material at any position within a tree is necessary for the understanding of strength reducing effects of knots and essential for the continuation of research in areas which relate small clear wood specimen behavior to the behavior of full size structural timber. A complete three-dimensional paradigm describing the geometry of knots and related fiber distortion, initially derived to predict the strength-reducing behavior of knots in structural timber of Norway Spruce with the finite element method, is presented in this article. Besides strength prediction analyses, it is believed that the paradigm may be useful in other areas of research on structural timber that are effected by fiber orientation, such as drying and form change of structural timber. The paradigm generates fiber orientation in any position within a log or lumber from assumed fiber patterns in planes parallel to the longitudinal direction of the original tree. Fiber patterns in the radial and tangential directions are derived from physical restraints related to fiber production within the annual increase surfaces of the tree and from theories of knot formation. The adaptability of the paradigm allows practically any softwood knot to be modeled with an accuracy that is limited only by input-data. The knot-axis may be non-linear, and the knot cross-section oval with its vertical and horizontal axis increasing from the pith of the stem at chosen rates. Spiral grain may also be included in the paradigm and vary with the annual growth layers. Investigations presented in this article showed that generated fiber orientations for Picea abies complied well with measured fiber distortions, and that the general trends of fiber orientation, explained by the applied knot formation theory, is reflected in the measured specimens.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)453-465
JournalWood Science and Technology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2001

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Building Technologies


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