Acoustic evaluation of loblolly pine tree- and lumber-length logs allows for segregation of lumber modulus of elasticity, not for modulus of rupture
Key message Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) logs can be evaluated using acoustic velocity whereby threshold acoustic velocity values can be set to ensure lumber meets specified mechanical property design values for modulus of elasticity.
Context There is a need to better sort logs according to lumber quality for improved decision making and wood utilization because merchantable logs are being harvested from different stand types including natural forests, conventional plantations, and intensively managed plantations, all with differences in rotation ages, growth rates, and wood quality traits.
Aims This study aimed to link tree- and lumber-length log acoustic velocity with the resulting lumber properties as tested in static bending from five intensively managed loblolly pine stands in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of Georgia.
Methods Acoustic velocity was measured using the resonance-based approach on 87 tree-length logs and 244 lumber-length logs. The logs were then processed into 797 pieces of 38 mm by 89 mm (2×4), 140 mm (2×6), 184 mm (2×8), and 235 mm (2×10) dimension lumber, dried, and tested in static bending.
Results Mean MOE of the lumber had moderate relationships with acoustic velocity of the logs (R2 = 0.49) whereas MOR and acoustic velocity did not have a strong relationship (R2 = 0.20). Accounting for log position increased the performance of the mean lumber MOE model (R2 = 0.62) which was further increased by adding green density and small-end diameter (R2 = 0.67). Utilization of acoustics was effective for segregating logs based on lumber modulus of elasticity and did not depend on knowing tree or stand information such as age, site quality, and silviculture history.
Conclusion Acoustic velocity evaluation of tree- and lumber-length logs could be employed to segregate logs within the supply chain to ensure that lumber would meet specified design values.