This work was undertaken to investigate the feasibility of near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for estimating wood mechanical properties, i.e., modulus of elasticity (MOE) and modulus of rupture (MOR) in bending tests. Two sample sets having large and limited density variation were prepared to examine the effects of wood density on estimation of MOE and MOR by the NIR technique. Partial least squares (PLS) analysis was employed and it was found that the relationships between laboratory-measured and NIR-predicted values were good in the case of sample sets having large density variation. MOE could be estimated even when density variation in the sample set was limited. It was concluded that absorption bands due to the OH group in the semi-crystalline or crystalline regions of cellulose strongly influenced the calibrations for bending stiffness of hybrid larch. This was also suggested from the result that both α-cellulose content and cellulose crystallinity showed moderate positive correlation to wood stiffness.

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