The first Symposium on Nondestructive Testing of Wood was held in October 1963 at the USDA Forest Products Laboratory in Madison Wisconsin, USA. The National Lumber Manufacturers Association cosponsored the event. The purpose of the symposium was to examine and discuss methods of nondestructive testing (NDT) and their possible applications to the wood products industries. Scientists, engineers and industry leaders from all over North America gathered to obtain an understanding of the state-of-the art and to project potential applications in the forest products field.
At that time, two new lumber testing machines had been developed holding promise toward achieving better utilization of lumber. In manufacturing of wood in general, it had been recognized that the efficient use of raw materials and improvements in process design and control depended on the ability to make rapid and dependable measurements. In the market place, guaranteed performance of products, especially of higher strength grades of lumber and engineered items, should lead to new designs as well as to lower costs in construction. This assessment sparked interest in NDT of many wood products.
A conclusion of the first symposium was that NDT of wood had made an auspicious start and became a desirable area of research. Subsequently, George G. Marra of Washington State University and a number of his associates took the leadership in staging the Second Symposium on NDT of Wood in 1965, this time already with international participation. It broadened the scope of NDT measurements in context of end-use requirements for fully specified wood products, particularly the relationship between elasticity and structural properties; of statistical analyses regarding sampling methods and experimental design; and of precision and reliability requirements for commercial use. The heightened interest in the field of NDT for wood stimulated a long series of symposia to this day. At first, traditionally, they were all held at Washington State University until European hosts also came to the fore and we are now able to participate in the 14th International Symposium on NDT of Wood.