Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Identifying incipient decay in Douglas-fir bridge components using x-ray computerized tomography

Source: In: Wang, X.; Sauter, U.H.; Ross, R.J., eds. 2019. Proceedings: 21st International Nondestructive Testing and Evaluation of Wood Symposium. General Technical Report FPL-GTR-272. Madison, WI: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Forest Products Laboratory: 62-70.

Author(s)Senalik, Christopher Adam; Wacker, James ; Wang, Xiping ; Wu, Xi

Publication Year: 2019  View PDF »

Category: Conference Proceedings
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4714-1B

Abstract: In this report, wooden members of sizes typically used in bridge construction are examined using x-ray computerized tomography (CT) to determine the presence of internal decay. This report is part of an overall study in which Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) glue-laminated (glulam) beams and solid sawn timbers were inoculated with brown rot fungus, Fomitopsis pinicola, and exposed to aboveground conditions approximately 25 miles (40 km) north of Gulfport, Mississippi, USA. The goal of the overall study is to develop interior decay within the test specimens and then identify and characterize the decay using a variety of nondestructive testing (NDT) techniques. One NDT technique used is x-ray CT. The pixel brightness (PB) of CT scan images is proportional to the specific gravity (SG) at that location; high SG materials appear brighter whereas low SG materials appear darker. The consumption of wood by fungus decreases the wood SG; however, fungal progression takes place in areas where sufficient moisture is present. The presence of moisture increases wood SG as detected by the CT scan, which masks the effect of the fungal decay, which is a common co-occurrence with many NDT techniques. To identify incipient decay, it is necessary to examine the ring structure both within and outside of the area of moisture. Quantifying the extent of the decay requires correlating the PB to known SG values for both dry wood and wood of varying moisture content. In this report, the relationship between wood SG, moisture content, and PB was quantified.

Keywords: X-ray computerized tomography; wood timber; brown rot fungus; incipient decay

Publication Review Process: Informally Refereed (Peer-Reviewed)

File size: 795 kb(s)

Date posted: 12/20/2019

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 96766
Current FPL Scientists associated with this product (listed alphabetically)
Senalik, Christopher
Research General Engineer
Wacker, James P.
Research General Engineer
Wang, Xiping
Research Forest Products Technologist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »