AbstractThe fatigue behavior of the wood fiber cell wall under mechanical treatment in refining was simulated dynamically using a finite element method. The effect of the amplitude and frequency of impacts on the mechanical breakdown of the fiber wall structure was examined. The proposed model of the fiber cell wall was constructed from elementary microfibrils in various orientations embedded in isotropic lignin. The fatigue of the cell wall was simulated under normal refiner mechanical pulping conditions. A cyclic load was applied on the model fiber through a hemispherical grit proposed to be applied on the surface on refiner segments. Changes in the elastic modulus of the cell wall were analyzed to determine the potential for cell wall breakdown. An increase in the amplitude of applied forces and frequency of impacts was found to have a significant influence on the reduction of the elastic modulus of the wall structure. A high frequency of impacts increased the stiffness of the cell wall, but resulted in faster reduction of the elastic modulus. At a lower amplitude of impacts, efficient breakdown of the cell wall using grits was achieved with a high frequency of impacts or a high rotational speed of refiners.