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Method and Apparatus for Evaluation of Standing Timber


Laboratory: Forest Products Laboratory

Technology: Apparatus and method for acoustically testing wood properties in live, standing trees. In particular, this invention employs deep-set spike probes angled to create a longitudinal compression wave. Alignment tools and isolation of the probes provide an improved signal. Automated detection of probe separation and an amplitude-independent pulse discrimination process ensure higher reliability and repeatability of the measurements. Finally, wireless operation provides operational efficiencies. This invention was the result of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the University of Minnesota and industrial cooperators.

Benefits: It is difficult to nondestructively assess wood quality in standing trees. To do so, either a sample of wood must be taken and analyzed in a laboratory, or a tree must be felled for visual inspection. Often, a complete assessment of wood quality cannot be made until the timber is in the milling process. By this time, considerable resources have been spent locating and transporting the timber. This innovation addresses the barriers to assessing wood quality without destroying the tree.

Potential Commercial Applications: This invention benefits both the forest and wood products industries. First, it enables objective evaluation of stiffness and other wood properties in standing trees. Second, it assists with optimization of value capture in harvesting and log making. Third, it provides a means for allocating timber based on quality and suitability for different customers or processing options. Finally, it provides decision support in forest management to improve the quality of trees.

Opportunity: Licensees and/or cooperators are being sought for this technology.

Contact: U.S. Forest Service Patents Contacts

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