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    Author(s): Xiping Wang; R. Bruce Allison
    Date: 2008
    Source: Arboriculture & urban forestry. Vol. 34, no. 1 (Jan. 2008): Pages 1-4.
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (133 KB)


    Arborists are often challenged to identify internal structural defects hidden from view within tree trunks. This article reports the results of a study using a trunk inspection protocol combining visual observation, single-path stress wave testing, acoustic tomography, and resistance microdrilling to detect internal defects. Two century-old red oak (Quercus rubra) trees located in Capitol Park, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S., were visually inspected and then evaluated using a single-path stress wave timer, an acoustic tomography, and a resistance measuring drill. The trees were subsequently felled, and a disk at each test location was obtained and examined. It was found that the visual inspection and single-path stress wave tests correctly identified a general problem but without specificity; the tomograph accurately revealed the general location and magnitude of the defect within the cross-sections tested but required resistance microdrilling to precisely locate defects and differentiate between decay and crack-induced acoustic shadows.

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    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Wang, Xiping; Allison, R. Bruce. 2008. Decay detection in red oak trees using a combination of visual inspection, acoustic testing, and resistance microdrilling. Arboriculture & urban forestry. Vol. 34, no. 1 (Jan. 2008): Pages 1-4.


    Acoustic tomography, crack, decay, hazard tree, resistance microdrilling, resistograph, risk assessment, stress wave, wood, biodegradation, deterioration, diseases, pests, oak, grading, red oak, mechanical properties, acoustic properties, wood quality, drilling, boring, microdrilling, wood defects, nondestructive testing, Capitol Park (Madison, WI), acoustic testing, resistance to decay, oak decay, logs, standing trees

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