As a macroscopically orthotropic material, beech wood has different mechanical properties along the fiber direction and the direction perpendicular to the fiber direction, presenting a complicated strain rate sensitivity under impact or blast loadings. To understand the effect of the strain rate on the mechanical properties of beech wood, dynamic compression tests were conducted for the strain rate range of 800 s−1
, and quasi-static compression tests for obtaining the static mechanical properties of beech wood were also performed for comparison. The fiber direction effect on the mechanical properties was also analyzed, considering two loading directions: one perpendicular to the beech fiber direction and the other parallel to the beech fiber direction. The results show that beech wood for both loading directions has a significant strain rate sensitivity, and the mechanical properties of beech wood along the fiber direction are superior to those along the direction perpendicular to the fiber direction. An analysis of the macrostructures and microstructures of beech specimens is also presented to illustrate the failure mechanisms. The beech wood, as a natural protective material, has special dynamic mechanical properties in the aspect of transverse isotropy. This research provides a theoretical basis for application in protective structures.
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