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Advantages and Disadvantages of Wood

Wood is a tough fibrous tissue found in the stems and roots of trees and other woody plants. Wood has been used for many purposes; it has been used for fuel and construction material for thousands of years. Wood is an organic material and it is composed of cellulose fibers which have a string tension; these cellulose fibers are embedded in a matrix of lignin. Wood is also defined as the only secondary xylem in stem of trees. In a living tree wood provides support, which enable woodsy plants to grow and stand by themselves.

Wood also mediates the transfer of water nutrients to other parts of the plants like leaves and other growing tissues. Wood is an abundant and renewable source of carbon; materials of wood have been a source of renewable energy.

Wood has many advantages and some disadvantages. Some of the advantages and disadvantages of wood are as follows:

Advantages of Wood:
  • Wood has been used as fuel for many thousand years and it is still being used as fuel mostly in the rural parts.
  • Hardwood is preferred to softwood as fuel as it produces less smoke and burns longer.
  • A woodstove or fireplace adds to ambience and warmth to a home.
  • Since the time of human beings began building shelters, wood has been a important construction material.
  • It is also used to build houses and boats.
  • Until late of the 19th century all boats are made from wood; remains of wood are used commonly in boat construction.
  • Engineered wood is being used in largely in construction of residential and commercial buildings.
  • Wood is used as a supporting material in building made of other materials like in roofs, interior doors, etc.
  • Wood flooring is a product made from timber that is used as flooring.
  • Engineered wood components are often used in construction and industrial applications.
  • Wood has always been used for furniture like chairs and cots.
  • It is also used in the form of cutlery like wooden spoon, chopsticks.
  • Wood is also used as an artistic mode. It includes totem poles, woodcut printmaking, and certain types of musical instruments.
  • Many types of equipments used in sports are made of wood. Example - Cricket bats, baseball bats.
  • Other types of recreational sports equipments like skis, hockey sticks, archery bows are commonly made from wood.
Disadvantages of Wood:
  • Wood energy produces green house gases.
  • Transportation of wood to urban areas can be expensive.
  • Wood is hygroscopic and it will absorb surrounding vapors loses moisture below the fiber saturation point.
  • Biotic factors can cause decay of wood by mold fungi, bacteria and insects.
  • Abiotic factors like sun, wind, water, fire and certain chemicals can cause deterioration and destruction of wood.