Multi-Scale MRI/X-ray CT characterisation and Lattice Boltzmann modelling study of moisture movement in wood

the TreehuggerThis project aims to build a multi-scale computational fluid dynamics model of moisture movement in wood. The fluid model is designed to simulate flow and diffusion through a real wood microstructure imaged by X-ray computed tomography (CT). Validation and further material characterisation are provided by a portable magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) system – the Treehugger – designed, built and commissioned at the University of Surrey for in-situ measurements of living trees. 

Research objectives

  • Validate existing drying models and new simulations based on multi-scale, effective media lattice Boltzmann methods using the X-ray and MR images.
  • Measure water distributions as a function of drying temperature, time and sensitivity to water mobility/cellular environment.
  • Link x-ray CT images of wood microstructure in fresh timber with MRI maps of water distribution obtained by-kiln during controlled drying.

Results so far

Multi-resolution X-ray CT micrographs of three wood species, obtained at the University of Ghent’s Woodlab.

These micrographs allow the fluid model to simulate flow through a real piece of wood at a number of different length-scales.

Multi-scale, multi-phase lattice Boltzmann model of water movement within a procedural, semi-permeable tracheid geometry derived from the X-ray micrographs.


Current (2013-2018)


Robin Adey-Johnson

Funders and partners

Forestry Commission

The University of Surrey’s Centre for Doctoral Training in MiNMaT (Micro- and NanoMaterials and Technologies)

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council