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Proceedings Paper

Assessment of structural integrity of wooden poles
Author(s): Ian A. Craighead; Steve Thackery; Martin Redstall; Matthew R. Thomas
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Paper Abstract

Despite recent advances in the development of new materials, wood continues to be used globally for the support of overhead cable networks used by telecommunications and electrical utility companies. As a natural material, wood is subject to decay and will eventually fail, causing disruption to services and danger to public and company personnel. Internal decay, due to basidomycetes fungi or attack by termites, can progress rapidly and is often difficult to detect by casual inspection. The traditional method of testing poles for decay involves hitting them with a hammer and listening to the sound that results. However, evidence suggests that a large number of poles are replaced unnecessarily and a significant number of poles continue to fail unexpectedly in service. Therefore, a more accurate method of assessing the structural integrity of wooden poles is required. Over the last 25 years there have been a number of attempts at improving decay detection. Techniques such as ultrasound, drilling X rays etc. have been developed but have generally failed to improve upon the practicality and accuracy of the traditional testing method. The paper describes the use of signal processing techniques to analyze the acoustic response of the pole and thereby determine the presence of decay. Development of a prototype meter is described and the results of initial tests on several hundred poles are presented.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3993, Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Materials and Composites IV, (13 May 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.385484
Show Author Affiliations
Ian A. Craighead, Univ. of Strathclyde (United Kingdom)
Steve Thackery, BT Labs. (United Kingdom)
Martin Redstall, BT Labs. (United Kingdom)
Matthew R. Thomas, BT Labs. (United Kingdom)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3993:
Nondestructive Evaluation of Aging Materials and Composites IV
George Y. Baaklini; Carol A. Nove; Eric S. Boltz, Editor(s)

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