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Relationships between wood properties of small clear specimens and structural-sized boards in three softwood species

Krajnc, Luka, Farrelly, Niall, Harte, Annette M.
Holzforschung 2019 v.73 no.11 pp. 987-996
Picea abies, Picea sitchensis, Pseudotsuga menziesii, bending strength, modulus of elasticity, softwood, wood physical properties
Research on the mechanical and physical properties of wood is commonly carried out on either small clear specimens or structural-sized boards. The first approach was more frequently utilized in the past, while the latter is more commonly used nowadays. However, there is very little information on how the two approaches relate with one another. This study aimed to quantify the relationships between the mechanical [modulus of elasticity (MOE) and bending strength] and physical properties (density) of both specimen sizes. A total of 1376 structural-sized boards from three different species (Douglas-fir, Norway spruce and Sitka spruce) were tested in bending, after which a small clear specimen was extracted from the undamaged portion of each board and re-tested in bending. Prior to destructive testing, all boards and clear specimens were evaluated using non-destructive technology. Poor-to-moderate relationships were found between all measured mechanical and physical properties of structural-sized timber and small clear specimens. In both specimen sizes, the properties correlated with one another within the same specimen size, as well as across the two sizes. The strength of correlations appears to be somewhat species dependent. Relatively good relationships were identified when comparing the mean tree values of the properties examined, suggesting either method can be used for a tree-level comparison. The non-destructive evaluation of specimens was shown to reflect the measured properties moderately well, with the relationships changing significantly depending on which measured property was being predicted.