Wood has physical and mechanical properties that makes it a very attractive material for interior and outdoor construction projects. Learn about its characteristics: insulating, resistant, renewable, and much more.
Wood is a material that we extract from tree trunks and is used in a wide range of constructive elements. When we strip away the bark, we can find wood on the inside; this is the tissue that forms the mass of trees, with rings that grow and give us information about their age. The marks created by these rings in the wood are called grain, a kind of pattern that is unique to each tree and is a highly decorative aesthetic property of the wood.
Wood, just like stone, was the first material used by humanity for survival. These are the first materials used by humans: hunting materials like bows and arrows, the first wheels, boats, wood structures for medieval construction, carts, containers, furniture, decorative objects and works of art. Wood’s versatility knows no limits.
With time, humans have learned to work wood to create solid or processed wood panels. Processed wood is formed by bonding pieces of wood together using glue and pressure. Examples are chipboard or plywood, which consists of solid wood sheets glued together with a cross grain.
What is the secret to this material? Why have architects, carpenters, or construction workers used wood for centuries? Why do they continue to do so? Wood’s properties are its strongest weapon. If you still don’t know wood’s characteristics, you’ll better understand its success with this article.
Main Properties of Wood
Mechanical Properties of Wood
Wood’s resistant properties are highly valued in construction. Typically, the heavier the wood, the better its resistance (although there are some exceptions). But, what exactly is wood resistant to? Traction is one example. Wood is perfect for traction work and specifically in parallel to its fibers, not perpendicular. If there is a break in the wood because of traction, it’s subtle. Wood is also resistant to compression, especially when the material is dense; this also helps with dryness. In plywood panels, its resistance is especially high, thanks to alternating layers that come together opposite the grain. In addition, higher uniformity and dimensional stability is achieved.
Another mechanical characteristic of wood is that it's an elastic material. A wood panel can be manipulated and then returned to its original state without larger structural damage. This property is tremendously useful when it comes time for building homes or boats; the material can adapt to temperature changes or hold weight without putting the state of the structure in danger.
Physical Properties of Wood
A curious property of wood is its hygroscopicity, its ability to absorb the humidity of its environment. The wood contracts and expands in function of humidity; it’s a live material and its effect depends on the type of wood although, as we mentioned, its elasticity protects the constructions and allows it to return to its original position without notable damage. In the case of plywood panels, they are highly resistant to humidity and long-lasting.
Between the properties and characteristics of wood, we also have density. It’s not the same in all species, of course; each kind of wood has a weight, marked by the meteorological conditions that influence its growth. There are lightweight species that tend to grow faster, so the variety in options is a strong point of this material. No matter the requirements, there is a type of wood that fits. If you’re looking for lightness, poplar plywood is the best choice for you: lightweight, uniform, and stable panels.
At Garnica, we have poplar plywood panels and those combined with other species to improve performance. Poplar is a species that is characterized by its light weight, which helps to reduce construction weight and lower gas usage for mobile projects. When we use other species for decorative faces, its optical properties multiply; depending on the kind of wood we use, we can achieve a singular grain with different tones. Stable, uniform and easily mechanized are properties of Garnica’s plywood panels that assure maximum product quality. Duraply is a range that exemplifies perfection and also boasts a treatment for outdoor and highly-humid uses.
Lastly, we can’t forget about sustainability. At Garnica, we produce panels in a way that prioritizes nearby wood from European plantations, instead of tropical. In addition, natural poplar absorbs CO2 in high quantities, returning oxygen to the atmosphere and purifying water. Without a doubt, wood is a jewel for architects for all kinds of construction; specifically, poplar guarantees an optimal, resistant, decorative and durable product without compromising the environment.