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Professor Barry Gardiner, Mr Dave Auty, Ms Elspeth Macdonald, Mr Shaun Mochan, Forest Research Agency, Edinburgh
Dr John Moore, Mr Andrew Lyon, Mr Roddy Mackenzie, Centre for Timber Engineering, Napier University, Edinburgh
Dr Alexis Achim, Laval University, Quebec City, Canada
Mr Peter Carter, FibreGen, New Zealand
Mr Paul Mclean, University of Glasgow

Wood quality assessment at the speed of sound!

A research collaboration of Forest Research, Fibre-Gen (New Zealand), Napier University and University of Glasgow is striving to improve sustainability and increase efficiency in the UK forest industry.

“A large part of the industry is dedicated to the production of wood for the construction of new homes,” explains Professor Barry Gardiner from Forest Research. “However, some of the trees cut down are processed before it is realised they are not strong enough for construction use.”

The research team is testing technologies that allow wood strength to be determined by measuring the speed at which sound travels through logs and trees. This process allows timber quality to be determined before processing.

“There is no way to tell if a tree is suitable for producing construction timber just by looking at it, so we have to listen to it instead,” says Barry. “These tools will help the multi-billion pound forest and wood processing industry increase efficiency and reduce its carbon footprint by pre-sorting logs in the forest for specific uses.”

This new technology is currently being implemented by the UK forest industries to enhance decision making and improve productivity and performance across the wood supply chain.