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Measurement of wood grain angle, moisture content and density using microwaves

Schajer, Gary S., Orhan, F. Bahar
European journal of wood and wood products 2006 v.64 no.6 pp. 483-490
Pseudotsuga menziesii, grain and figure, manufacturing, physical properties, raw materials, water content, wood, wood physical properties
In many wood products manufacturing processes, it is important to ensure that the physical properties of the raw material lie within acceptable ranges and are measured reliably. It is also important for practical use that the measurement process is robust, low-maintenance, fast and preferably non-contacting. This paper describes the development and demonstration of a microwave system for simultaneously identifying wood grain angle, moisture and density. The method involves propagating a microwave beam through the wood and measuring the resulting depolarization, attenuation and phase shift. The wood physical properties can then be identified from these measurements. In a series of measurements, the prototype microwave system successfully identified wood grain angles for hemlock and Douglas fir respectively with standard errors of 0.9° and 2.5° (measured range = -90° to +90°), moisture content 1.2% and 1.9% (measured range = 7–28%), moisture density 3.7 kg/m³ and 7.9 kg/m³ (measured range = 40–150 kg/m³, and dry density 16 kg/m³ and 30 kg/m³ (measured range = 325–625 kg/m³).