Our Picus 3 Tomograph is an invaluable tool that enables us to measure the velocity of sound waves across the stem in order to detect decay and cavities using minimally invasive methods. The speed of the sound waves varies according to the elasticity and the density of the wood itself, with most damage and disease causing fractures, cavities or decay and reducing the wood’s elasticity and density.
The acoustic waves are created manually with a hammer and are measured using sonic sensors (receivers) placed around the circumference of the tree. Little pins are used for coupling the sensors to the wood.
By measuring the speed of the sound waves in reaching each of the sensors, along with the geometry of the tree at the test level, we can interpret the results using specialist software to produce a sonic tomogram image. Dark areas within the tomogram image correspond to higher sound velocities and denser wood. Decay and cavities result in lower sound velocity and are displayed using lighter colours.
To supplement our Picus 3 we have an IML Resi F400E which is a specialised mircodrill that detects decay and cavities in trees and timber. As experienced arborists we are able to interpret the results to identify areas of decay, dysfunctional wood, cavities, cracks and importantly the thickness of residual sound wood surrounding decayed areas. Driven by a cordless drill it is lightweight, portable and very easy to handle and is therefore ideal for difficult operating conditions including the assessment of decay above ground level and the assessment of roots.
Using a 3mm diameter micro drill to a depth of 400mm the device records the resistance provided by the wood to the turning drill, simply, sound wood offers greater resistance with any reductions likely to indicate decay and dysfunction.
The measurement profile is recorded simultaneously to the drilling depth on a wax paper strip and within the onboard computer system, enabling desktop interpretation of the results and in combination with the Picus 3 allows us to make fully informed decisions on tree safety.
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