Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Non-destructive evaluation techniques and what they tell us about wood property variation


Laurence Schimleck
Joseph Dahlen
Luis A. Apiolaza
Geoff Downes
Grant Emms
John Moore
Luc Pâques
Jan Van den Bulcke



Publication type:

Scientific Journal (JRNL)

Primary Station(s):

Forest Products Laboratory


Forests. 10(9). 50 p.


To maximize utilization of our forest resources, detailed knowledge of wood property variation and the impacts this has on end-product performance is required at multiple scales (within and among trees, regionally). As many wood properties are difficult and time-consuming to measure our knowledge regarding their variation is often inadequate as is our understanding of their responses to genetic and silvicultural manipulation. The emergence of many non-destructive evaluation (NDE) methodologies offers the potential to greatly enhance our understanding of the forest resource; however, it is critical to recognize that any technique has its limitations and it is important to select the appropriate technique for a given application. In this review, we will discuss the following technologies for assessing wood properties both in the feld: acoustics, Pilodyn, Resistograph and Rigidimeter and the lab: computer tomography (CT) scanning, DiscBot, near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy, radial sample acoustics and SilviScan. We will discuss these techniques, explore their utilization, and list applications that best suit each methodology. As an end goal, NDE technologies will help researchers worldwide characterize wood properties, develop accurate models for prediction, and utilize feld equipment that can validate the predictions. The continued advancement of NDE technologies will also allow researchers to better understand the impact on wood properties on product performance.


Schimleck, Laurence; Dahlen, Joseph; Apiolaza, Luis A.; Downes, Geoff; Emms, Grant; Evans, Robert; Moore, John; Pâques, Luc; Van den Bulcke, Jan; Wang, Xiping. 2019. Non-destructive evaluation techniques and what they tell us about wood property variation. Forests. 10(9). 50 p.


Publication Notes

  • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.