Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería de Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural

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Abstract: This study analyses the variation of main physical-mechanical properties of wood along the longitudinal and radial directions of the tree for Abies alba Mill. growing in the Spanish Pyrenees. Small clear specimens were used to study the properties of volumetric shrinkage (VS), density (.), hardness (H), bending strength (MOR), modulus of elasticity (MOE), maximum compressive strength parallel to the grain (MCS) and impact strength (K). Several models of properties variation in the longitudinal and radial directions were analyzed. Main trends of variation of properties throughout the tree stem were identified although none of them could be fitted to predictive statistical models. Along the longitudinal direction, the properties studied followed a downward trend from the base to the crown, which was not significant in all cases, indicating that no differences in quality existed. Throughout the radial direction the trend is upward for the first 40-50 growth rings, after which it slopes downwards, more gently at first until rings 70-75 and then more steeply. This behaviour is related to variation in wood structure from the pith to the bark, depending on whether the wood is juvenile, sapwood or heartwood, and to wood maturity and microfibril angle. Authors encourage carrying further studies on other populations of A. alba in the Spanish Pyrenees to check if the trends found in this study apply to other provenances.