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Forest Research Opens New Research Facility


Forest Research Opens New Millennium Research Facility

The need for a state-of-the-art nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) facility at Forest Research has led to the upgrade and expansion of the magnetic resonance suite with the latest digital NMR spectrometers, purchased at a capital investment of $900,000. The Hon Simon Upton, Minister for Crown Research Institutes, will officially open the facility on Thursday 5 August 1999.

The understanding of the chemical structure and interactions of organic compounds within complex matrices such as wood is needed by a large range of scientific disciplines. The new facility has extended the range of work that can now be completed at Forest Research.

NMR is a technique that can operate in 3 modes:

1. Classical solution-state operation whereby the sample is dissolved in a suitable solvent and the chemical structure investigated. Solution state spectroscopy enables, for example, technologists to follow the extent and nature of adhesive curing, allowing better design of adhesive formulations with targeted cure properties. It can also be used in studies looking at the improved pulping and bleaching of wood for papermaking.

2. Solid-state operation whereby samples that cannot be dissolved can also be examined for their chemical structure. This is useful when studying chemical modifiers being impregnated into solid wood. It is possible to determine the chemical nature of the wood preservatives in situ to identify any change in chemical composition due to their interaction with the wood. This leads to a better understanding of how wood preservation is achieved.

3. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), is a technique most commonly found in hospitals for whole body scanning to identify abnormal tissue such as tumors. In this mode, it is also possible to operate at a microimaging research level on samples less than a few centimetres diameter, as is the case at Forest Research. Microimaging magnetic resonance has been used to investigate the movement and penetration of preservatives into wood. This information is used to better understand the means of wood impregnation technologies in order to minimise treatment solution or to ensure the active ingredients are being delivered where they should.

The Magnetic Resonance Suite at Forest Research is the only site in the country where all three modes of operation are available under one roof.



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