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Steve Nix

Why Do Certain Tree Species Produce More Heat Than Others?

By November 26, 2012

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Q: What part of the tree contributes the most to its density?

My son is doing a science fair project comparing the thermal energy (BTU's) of several species of tree wood that we have collected from around the farm. He will have to describe the trunk anatomy and make a hypothesis as to why some species produce more BTU's than others. Is there a direct correlation between density and stored thermal energy? - Robin

A: Here are several places for him to start. Pick up some key words using these brief reports to find much more info on the physics of heating with wood. Google the terms you are not familiar with.

You are right that every species has its own unique thermal energy potential (BTUs). Usually the harder the wood, the higher the usable energy potential mainly because of more wood per unit volume. But you can't discount other very important factors like green vs. seasoned efficiency and the effects of "coaling" which prolongs heat release in wood burning systems. - SN

Comments

October 28, 2009 at 1:58 am
(1) guy anderson says:

i can say for sure you can get a face cord of wood in a half ton truck 8 foot box, and i love how you folks talk about make sure its stacked tight and measured perfect,When you go out for breakfast do you order your eggs i want medium or large eggs, no make them small,anyway i used to cut firewood for a living selling it for 35.00 a face cord and thats all the custemers would pay. after gas for saw truck, chainsaw mix bar oil price of worn equip price for tops to cut. I was nuts, never again

October 28, 2010 at 12:39 pm
(2) carol says:

hi, I have a question. I have a black walnut tree and the fruit husk is oval shaped but the nut is round, is this normal? I did not plant the tree.

November 21, 2011 at 8:47 am
(3) DWIGHT says:

Many of the improved cultivars of black walnut have hulls that are pointed at one or both ends with nuts that are round. Anytime I find a native tree that has hulls that are not round I check the nuts for thickness of the shell and the percent kernal. This is a good way to find superior nuts and where many of the better nuts for grafting orignally come from.

November 21, 2011 at 9:43 pm
(4) Daniel Hudon says:

I am 84 years of age, still burning wood, outdoor boiler with water. 130 ft from house.Boiler has been in operation since November 9th of 2005, use it year around. We may have shut down 6 or 7 times for minor repair since begining.
I remember an old Forester telling me to always practice
TSI (timber stand improvement ) Weed trees, cull trees and such were the ones to remove for firewood, it takes a little more time to harvest, but the benifits will be greater!
He claimed that pound for pound and air dried nearly all wood produced the same BTU’s! Volume will differ greatly

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