Strength grading of hardwoods using transversal ultrasound

A. Kovryga, A. Khaloian Sarnaghi, J. W.G. van de Kuilen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Detection of local wood inhomogeneities is important for accurate strength and stiffness prediction. In hardwood specimens, visual characteristics (e.g. knots or fibre deviation) are difficult to detect, either with a visual surface inspection or by the machine. Transversal ultrasound scan (TUS) is a non-destructive evaluation method with high potential for hardwoods. The method relies on differences in ultrasound wave propagation in perpendicular to the grain direction. The aim of this study is to estimate and analyse the capabilities of TUS for defect detection in hardwoods and prediction of mechanical property values. In the current paper, the TUS was applied to the hardwood species European ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.), Norway maple (Acer platanoides L.) and sycamore maple (Acer pseudoplatanus L.). In total, 16 boards of both specimens were completely scanned perpendicular to the grain using a laboratory scanner with dry-coupled transducers. The measurements were processed to 2D scan images of the boards, and image processing routines were applied to further feature extraction, defect detection and grading criteria calculation. In addition, as a reference for each board, all relevant visual characteristics and mechanical properties from the tensile test were measured. Using the TUS global fibre deviation, the size and the position of the knots can be detected. Knottiness correlates to the strength properties similarly or even better compared to the manual knottiness measurement. Between the global fibre angle measured using TUS and measured on the failure pattern, no correlation could be found. The ultrasound modulus of elasticity perpendicular to the grain does not show any meaningful correlation to the elastic properties parallel to the grain. In overall, TUS shows high potential for the strength grading of hardwoods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-960
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Wood and Wood Products
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Sep 2020


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