Characterisation of wood properties and transverse anatomy for vacuum drying modelling of commercially important Australian hardwood species (Dennis Cullity Fellowship)

The objective for this fellowship was, through exposure to overseas skills and processes, to gain a better understanding of the wood properties that explain the drying behaviour of the main commercial Australian hardwoods for future development of a vacuum drying model for these species. This was achieved by utilising ‘state of the art’ equipment to acquire intrinsic wood property and transverse anatomy data at AgroParisTech – ENGREF, France.

The following research was undertaken: ESEM (environmental scanning electron microscope) scans and subsequent image analysis of each species to characterise cell morphology; DMA (dynamic mechanical analysis) analysis to investigate viscoelastic behaviour of each species in the tangential and radial directions; wood water relationship measurements on micro samples involving a highly sensitive microbalance and laser technology to accurately measure loss of moisture content in conjunction with directional shrinkage.

The species investigated were: Corymbia citriodora (spotted gum), Eucalyptus pilularis (blackbutt), Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah) and Eucalyptus obliqua (messmate).

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