Seminars show off acoustic tools for timber testing

Using acoustic techniques to allow non-destructive assessment before a tree is felled

News from Forest Research: February 2008

With growing environmental awareness, architects are increasingly specifying timber from sustainably managed forests for use in new construction projects. However, before wood can be passed as ‘fit-for-purpose’, it must meet strict quality standards. A series of seminars is highlighting the use of acoustic tools for assessing timber quality.

The acoustic advantage

Traditionally, trees have been felled, processed and kiln-dried before being assessed by machine. Unfortunately, with the inherent variability of wood, this causes significant wastage as unsuitable timber is detected late in the process, incurring unnecessary financial and environmental costs. Acoustic techniques allow non-destructive assessment before a tree is felled, so it can be allocated to a particular use before processing. This improves the efficiency of the wood supply chain and minimises the social and environmental impacts of timber transport and processing.

Seminars demonstrate to industry

Two seminars in October and November 2007 were attended by members of the forestry–wood chain industry. In Dunkeld, delegates were shown how to use acoustic tools. Following this, the November meeting in Lockerbie was attended by industry policy-makers. As well as seeing the benefits of using acoustic methods, the participants visited a local sawmill for a practical demonstration of the real savings that would have been made had a batch of timber been checked with acoustic tools before processing.

A further seminar is planned to take place on 29th April 2008 at Exeter racecourse.

More details of Forest Research’s research into timber properties and acoustic tools


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This and other news stories can be found in the February 2008 issue of FR Eye, our online newsletter.