LNAF10080U  Wood Structure and Applications

Volume 2013/2014

Topics included in the course:

Wood anatomy: The growth of woody plants, wood formation; wood cell types including their function and appearance; the cell wall and its micro-structure (micro-fibrils, pits and perforations); the chemical composition of the cell wall; the structure of hardwood and softwood; macroscopic appearance of wood with special focus on rays, annual rings, heartwood etc.

Preparation of microscope slides and basic microscope techniques.

Wood identification based on macro- and microscopic traits.

Wood and water: Equilibrium moisture, drying of wood, shrinkage and swelling, deformations.
The density and strength of wood (in brief). “Anomalous” wood: juvenile wood, knots, reaction wood etc.

Ecological factors and their influence on wood formation, structure and properties. The concept of silviculture and product optimization in terms of quality and quantity in forestry. Aspects of wood formation in relation to vegetation history, dating of archaeological finds (dendrochronology) etc.

The principal uses of wood and the principles of wood conversion (in brief): sawmilling, board and paper manufacture, use of wood as an energy source.

Durability, deterioration and protection of wood. The choice of wood species for specific applications. Wood from (tropical) natural forests versus wood from plantations.

The various topics will be linked together, as far as possible. Example: the ecological factors governing formation of reaction wood, growth stresses etc. are treated during lectures, the particular types of wood structure are identified during practicals, and finally their implications for wood properties and usability are covered.
Learning Outcome
The objective of the course is to achieve a basic understanding of the factors governing wood formation, ability to perform simple wood identification, as well as knowledge about wood uses and desirable wood properties for various applications. Upon completion of the course the student should have the following knowledge, skills and competences:

- be familiar with wood structure and formation;
- know the principles for the most important methods of wood conversion (sawmilling, papermaking, etc.);
- be able to explain the influence of ecological growth factors upon tree growth, wood structure, anatomical traits and properties which are important for the utilization of wood.

- be capable of identifying a number of typical woods by micro- and macroscopic traits;
- be able to relate anatomical and structural features of a wood sample to the growth conditions of the tree in a historical perspective.

- be able to apply the principles of wood identification on samples of unknown wood species;
- be able to evaluate wood as a commodity and as a material for structural use etc.;
- understand the importance of wood as a natural resource;
- understand and be able to discuss the possible conflicts between wood utilization and conservation of biodiversity.
The course is based on the text book:
Hoadley, R.B. 2000. Understanding wood. The Taunton Press. ISBN 1-56158-358-8
and selected chapters from:
Schweingruber, Börner & Schulze 2006. Atlas of Woody Plant Stems. ISBN-13: 978-3-540-32523-9
Wilson, R; White, D.J.B. 1986. The Anatomy of Wood. Stobart & Son LTD, London. ISBN 0-85442-034-7
Schweingruber, F.H. 1996. Tree Rings and Environment. Dendroecology.ISBN 3-258-05458-4
Bowyer, J.L.; Shmulsky, R.; Haygreen, J.G. 2003: Forest products and wood science. Iowa State Press. ISBN 0-8138-2654-3 (or later editions).

Additional lecture notes will be issued during the course.
A basic knowledge of plant physiology, botany and/or forestry, is recommendable. Likewise, a basic knowledge of organic chemistry.
The course contents are presented through lectures alternating with practicals and excursions to specific forest sites, wood-processing companies and timber merchants. During the practicals the students learn to prepare microscope slides that are used for identification of indigenous and exotic species. The personal microscope slide collection is used for the exam. During the second part of the course the students prepare a project report (some 10 pages) on a relevant topic. The choice of the report topic must be confirmed by one of the course teachers, who will also act as a supervisor of the work. Students’ presentation of their project work is scheduled at the end of the course.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination
Written assignment
Description of Examination: Evaluation of project report and oral examination, including demonstration of practical skills in microscopy and wood identification. Description of oral examination: Microscope slides (including specimens prepared by the student) and macroscopic wood samples will form the basis for questions related to: a) wood description and identification, b) the influence of growth conditions upon wood structure and properties (dendroecology), and c) applications and uses of wood. The student must demonstrate a reasonable level of knowledge within all three areas mentioned above in order to pass the test.
Exam registration requirements
The student must prepare a collection of microscope slides and present a written project report on a relevant topic before attending exam.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Flere interne bedømmere
Exam period
An internal evaluator will supervise the examination.
Criteria for exam assesment
Weight: Project report 30%, oral examination 70%.
Se målbeskrivelse!
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 32
  • Practical exercises
  • 52
  • Excursions
  • 18
  • Project work
  • 52
  • Exam
  • 2
  • Preparation
  • 50
  • Total
  • 206