Medical technologies used to assess moisture in dewatered wood

Wood gets medical attentionA team of scientists at Scion, led by Slobodan Bradic, have been using medical MRI and CT technologies at Lakes Radiology in Rotorua to assess moisture gradients in dewatered wood. These technologies have primarily been used for scanning humans.

Dewatering is the removal of moisture from the wood using carbon dioxide. This enables further modification to take place, such as adding colours and hardening agents. How much moisture remains and where it is distributed, has so far been unknown.

Green timber, dewatered wood and kiln dried wood were tested. The MRI scanner provided a clear picture of moisture in wet wood while the CT scanner, which measures density, was able to detect traces of water left behind in kiln dried wood. Three-dimensional images of moisture patterns inside wood have been created which will help our scientists work out more cost-effective methods to dry wood and lay the foundation for many high-value commercial applications.

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