Architects and engineers are increasingly considering wood as a lighter and more sustainable construction alternative to steel and concrete. While wood has been used in buildings for millennia, its mechanical properties have not, as yet, measured-up to all modern building standards for major superstructures. This is partly caused by our limited understanding of the basic structure of wood.
Cryo-SEM picture of a poplar stem cross-fracture. The magnified cell here is a sap conducting protoxylem vessel, which can be recognized by its typical ring-shaped cell wall thickenings.
Photo: Dr. Matthieu Bourdon