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Recent developments in physics provide a basis for modifying the physical and mechanical properties of wood and the techniques by which those properties are evaluated. Ionizing radiation from radioactive isotopes may affect the characteristics of wood formation as well as the properties of mature wood. Such radiation may also provide new possibilities in modification of wood properties by in situ polymerization of monomers impregnated into the wood. Developments in several areas of nuclear physics may provide a promising basis for the more effective evaluation of wood properties by nondestructive methods, a significant step toward the more efficient use of wood as an engineering material. Consideration of these developments and possibilities leads to an interesting study of the relationship between a classical engineering material and new developments in science.
Youngs, R. L.
Technologist, U. S. Department of Agriculture, Madison, Wis.