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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Chemi-code : an innovative method for wood product tracking Smiley, Bryce Carson


Chain of custody in the forest sector is very dependent on effectively tracking products though the supply chain and manufacturing processes, including sawmilling, drying, planing, and pulp processes. The effectiveness of a tracking system is largely influenced by the characteristics of the process it works within, the nature of the tracking system being used, and increasingly by the penetration of technologically advanced material tracking methods into on-the-ground CoC practices. A variety of CoC systems that exist in the global marketplace accommodate the use of advanced materials tracking systems as a tool for their their implementation. These advances not only offer the potential to reinforce the traceability of products in inventory, but also promote maintenance of their certified status between the various organizations that exist along the wood product supply chain, and ultimately to the end consumer. In the past, a number of different product tracking methods have been used, all of which suffer certain shortcomings in the challenging environment of the forest industry, and the extremely complex nature of Chain of Custody tracking. This work explores the development of a novel material tracking method using the innate IR signatures of polymeric compounds, varied by compound and concentration to develop millions of potential combinations, and consequently millions of unique identities. The combined variation of multiple IR peak frequencies and magnitudes provide the conceptual basis of a chemical barcode system, named "Chemi-Code", to be explored. To prove the validity of this concept, a series of polymers were assayed for suitability in such a system by tracking their IR response stability in the presence of solar UV radiation and over time. As well, the feasibility of varying polymer concentration, and subsequently identification of concentrations by DRIFT spectroscopy was explored by constructing response curves between polymer concentration and peak absorbance, and assessing associated error. Seven polymers were identified and assessed. Only two of these polymers were found to be sufficiently stable for use in the context of the forest industry, and of those two, only one behaved in a manner that would allow peak absorbance to be used as an identifiable chemical variable. Although only one of the seven polymers was suitable for use in the "Chemi-Code" system, the study did demonstrate the validity of the concept by showing that polymers can be exploited for use in such a system.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International