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The surface growth strains and the distribution of internal stresses in woody palms, coconut (Cocos nucifera L.), were determined by measuring the strains released by the kerf method using strain gauges. Measurements of the surface strains showed that longitudinal tensile stresses existed at the cortex, while longitudinal compressive stresses existed at the periphery of the central cylinder. These stresses may be generated from the fibers located in the scattered fiber and vascular bundles. In the central cylinder of narrow and wide trunks, both positive and negative stresses were observed, indicating the existence of some tensile and compressive stresses in the trunks. The amount of stress varied from base to top and from periphery to core because of the variation in proportion of the vascular bundles and the fibers, and the cell wall layers of fibers along these points. Furthermore, changes in the angle of vascular bundles and of the fiber microfibrils were correlated with the various tensile and compressive stresses located in the central cylinder of the trunks.


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