Batch measurements of wood density on intact or prepared drill cores using x-ray microdensitometry
The performance of a batch scanning x-ray densitometer for measuring wood density without sample preparation, i.e., on intact drill cores, or on rectangular samples prepared from drill cores, was analysed. Effects of x-ray intensity, sample thickness and fiber direction, as well as extractives content, were evaluated for young (mainly sapwood) and old (mainly heartwood) wood from Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst.). The x-ray power level used as standard (1.4 kW; 40 kV and 35 mA) seemed appropriate for the tested species and specimen thickness. The density of intact drill cores could be determined with a mean standard deviation of 1.6% for each sample, with a single machine run, if the cores were mounted with a fixed fiber direction and calibrations were made for each wood type. The corresponding precision for rectangular samples was 1.0%. Further improvements are attainable by using standard reference samples in each machine run and batch-wise analysis. For the chosen wood types and measurement technique, a sample thickness of 5 mm should give the best precision. However, for species with very narrow rings, thinner samples would improve the spatial resolution when ring boundaries are angled or curved. Extractives should be removed, especially for pine, but possibly also for spruce, if high precision in density determination is required.
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