One of the oldest construction materials is wood which, technically speaking, belongs to the group of polymer matrix composites; one which is conveniently and expertly produced by Nature. Due to its organic cell-type structure, the density of wood remains modest. Thus, as its strength and stiffness can - in certain cases - attain remarkable values, its levels of specific strength and stiffness (absolute strength or stiffness divided by density) can reach magnitudes which are competitive with those of other construction materials. It is demonstrated, for instance, that the specific strength of wood in the axial direction can exceed those of low-carbon steel and concrete. Its specific stiffness can also be comparable to those of aluminum alloys and low-carbon steels, and is better than that of concrete. In constructional design, especially in the dimensioning of supports, the values of specific strength and stiffness are of utmost importance.
This textbook is based upon the course, “Materials Science of Wood”, which was honed over many years at the Institute of Materials Science of Tampere University of Technology. This volume will now also serve as an English-language (rather than the original Finnish) textbook for the many new exchange students from other European universities. It is indeed essential reading for all students of Materials Science who are interested in the structure and properties of wood or in forestry.
Review from Ringgold Inc., ProtoView: This text for students in materials science covers the structure of wood, liquids in the structure of wood, density, thermal properties, mechanical properties, creep and strain under long-term unidirectional constant loading, electrical properties, acoustic properties, deterioration of wood, and chemical degradation. Chapter exercises, b&w photos, and microimages are included. The text can be used by students with little background in polymeric materials and polymer matrix composites. Kettunen teaches materials science at Tampere University of Technology, Finland.