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A plain cutting board made of wood

Wood is a porous and fibrous structural tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. Wood is common construction material used in everyday items, furniture or even buildings.


Wood is a heterogeneous, hygroscopic, cellular and anisotropic material. It consists of cells, and the cell walls are composed of micro-fibrils of cellulose (40–50%) and hemicellulose (15–25%) impregnated with lignin (15–30%). The exact percentage of each component varies from species.

There are two type of woods:

  • Softwood: Low density wood, soft and after being burned leaves low ash content. Examples: pine, willow, balsa, etc.
  • Hardwood: High density wood, hard and after being burned leaves high ash content. Examples: ash, oak, lilac, etc.

General properties

Wood is a reddish-brown solid material, with a specific structure. It is lighter than water and can absorb water.

Wood is flammable and will burn if ignited in an oxygen-rich environment, like air. Wood reacts with acids.


Wood can be found in most every day items and at most hardware stores.

Trees are made of wood.


  • Build a lab
  • Make lab furniture
  • Source of cellulose
  • Fuel
  • Make various lab items
  • Make charcoal
  • Make methanol and/or formaldehyde via destructive distillation of wood

Handling and safety

Wood is flammable and should be handled with care. Working with wood may cause splinters that pierce the skin, which, if not removed, may lead to inflammation or local infection. Sawdust is also harmful if inhaled for long periods of time. Fine sawdust mixtures with air in an enclosed chamber may be explosive.

Wood generally resists the action of organic solvents, but corrosive reagents will destroy it.


See also


Relevant Sciencemadness threads