In the forest products industry, improved methods are needed for rapid analysis of wood and paper products. Currently, the best methods for determining chemical and physical properties of wood-based materials require considerable sample preparation and analysis time. Consequently, quantitative information is often not obtained on a time scale suitable for process monitoring, control, and quality assurance. The primary barriers to practical utilization of conventional infrared methods are the opaqueness and poor reflection properties of the wood-based materials. This paper demonstrates how photoacoustic and transient infrared spectroscopies have been combined with chemometric techniques to overcome the limitations of conventional infrared spectroscopies and to permit rapid chemical and physical characterization of wood chips. Both photoacoustic and transient infrared spectroscopic methods are examined as rapid at- and on-line techniques for feedstock identification and chemical composition analysis prior to processing.
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