Properties of wood
Wood can offer different uses, especially in construction areas. For this reason, it is very important to know some of the aspects that make it one of the most important materials for human life.
The wood you choose to remodel your home will have a lot to do with the resistance of the structure. In this sense, among the most outstanding types of wood for furniture are oak, cypress and walnut. However, before choosing the right material for your home, it is advisable to learn more about the characteristics and properties of wood.
Types of wood: hard and soft
After studying the different kinds of wood and trees, we can say that the first specimens appeared on the planet 300 million years ago. These are the conifers or gymnosperms, which correspond to a type of softwood. However, between 150 and 200 million years later, hardwood trees, called angiosperms, appeared.
Within this classification, we can say that softwood is often used in the construction of pillars and beams, due to its vertical and straight structure. In addition, this is usually soft to the touch and does not scratch easily, which is why it is recommended for making furniture for daily use. Similarly, this type of material can be easily covered with wood paint, since its surface does not have too many irregularities. In addition, it is worth noting the density of pine wood and other soft species, since they have a light weight that makes them easy to transport.
Hardwood, on the other hand, is typically heavy and durable, so it is mostly used for making fixed-installation products like shelving and cabinets. It is important to note that hardwood trees are usually resistant to shocks and impacts, so this material is suitable for building stable structures such as desks and dining tables.
It should be noted that not all softwoods are light or not very resistant. On the contrary, in some cases the hardness of softwood can be even higher than that of so-called hardwood.
General characteristics of wood
Control humidity levels
The main macromolecules of the wood tree are called cellulose and hemicellulose, capable of absorbing the surrounding water when it is in humid areas. They can also release water when the air is dry. For this reason, the humidity around the wood always remains constant, which can be counterproductive in very humid spaces.
Low thermal conductivity
The composition of wood can provide very low thermal conductivity, thanks to the fact that it has a collection of cells that in turn contain air, which makes it very difficult to transfer heat through its surface. Therefore, many manufacturers use this material to create kitchen utensils, such as spoons, palettes, mixers, among others, to keep hands away from high temperatures.
Gets stronger as it dries
Construction materials such as iron and concrete are strong during their first years of life, but their durability decreases as they age. However, among the mechanical properties of wood is the fact that when it dries it becomes stronger, which represents an advantage in the construction of some structures.
For example, the Chamaecyparis obtusa tree remains resistant to bending, compression and tension for 100 to 200 years after felling, which means a long useful life. At the end of this period of time, the parts of the wood can lose strength but at a gradual rate, so it can take up to 1000 years to completely deteriorate.
Prevents other surfaces from charring
We all know the image of burning wood, whether from movies or at campfires with friends. However, wood is not as vulnerable to fire as other materials. Such is the case with iron and aluminum, which quickly lose strength and bend when they are at 500 or 800 degrees Celsius. However, light and strong wood burns at approximately 0.6 millimeters per minute, which is a very slow rate. In addition, thick wood can resist much longer.
Reduces the impact of light on the eyes
If we take a closer look at wood and its properties, we can understand that one of the many reasons wood feels comfortable in places is because wood controls reflected light, creating a soft glow. Also, the surface has fine irregularities that scatter and weaken light, making it less intense to the human eye. Also, it is important to note that infrared rays have a high reflectance in natural woods, which helps to create a warmer space.
Absorb unpleasant sounds
The sound tends to be softer in spaces where a lot of wood is used, such as theaters and concert halls, as this type of material can even out the highs and lows that people find uncomfortable. Therefore, spaces decorated with wood provide an effect of sound absorption. Similarly, thick wood is capable of blocking outside noise to maintain a quieter space inside homes.
The benefits and uses of wood are so varied that even after using it for the first time it is possible to recycle it and find a new function for it. In this sense, we know that in its pure state it is suitable for construction, but when crushed and converted into fine wood, it can be used to make a large number of objects and furniture.
Finally, it is important to remember the importance of wood in the ecosystem. In this sense, if it is used as fuel, it helps reduce the consumption of polluting fossil elements. In addition, if the trees are cut properly, it is possible to sustain the forest, so it is not necessary to resort to prefabricated wood to take care of the environment.