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Monitoring wood decay in poles by the vibroacoustic method

Craighead, I.A. and Thackery, S. and Redstall, M. and Thomas, M.R. (2001) Monitoring wood decay in poles by the vibroacoustic method. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part C: Journal of Mechanical Engineering Science, 215 (8). pp. 905-917. ISSN 0954-4062

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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. 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 for assessing the structural integrity of wooden poles is required. The underlying physical principles behind the 'pole tester's approach' have been identified and used in the development of a decay meter to enable objective monitoring of decay in wooden poles.