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Metal and wood

  1. Aug 16, 2004 #1
    why is that metal can melt into liquid form but not wood, can anyone help me, thx
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 16, 2004 #2

    Claude Bile

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    Science Advisor

    Wood is mostly carbon, whose melting point is around 1500 K (but don't quote me on that). It will therefore combust long before you reach a temperature high enough to melt it.

    Claude.
     
  4. Aug 16, 2004 #3
    And even if you completely remove all oxigen, thus preventing combustion, IIRC the wood would transform into other stuff (chemically) before it reaches that temperature (or whatever the correct temperature is).
     
  5. Aug 16, 2004 #4

    russ_watters

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    Staff: Mentor

    In junior high, I did an experiment where we heated wood in a test tube over a bunsen burner. It does exactly that: you drive off water vapor and methane, leaving carbon.
     
  6. Aug 16, 2004 #5
    Does this mean that the melting point of wood is actually the melting point of the products formed from wood after it's transformed?
     
  7. Aug 16, 2004 #6
    That's how they make coal, isn't it?
     
  8. Aug 16, 2004 #7
    Now that I think about it, I think we used to make our own coal when I was little, by heating pieces of wood in our kitchen oven. I don't remember for sure, but we probably wrapped it in something to prevent it from combusting.
    I'd say that wood basically doesn't have a melting point at all. Btw, not all materials melt (at least at normal temperature and pressure) - some go straight to gas, e.g. CO2. It's called sublimation.
     
  9. Aug 16, 2004 #8

    russ_watters

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    You could say that: wood is just too complex of a mixture of chemicals for it to have a melting point.
     
  10. Aug 17, 2004 #9
    So, the ashes left after combusting wood is carbon right?
     
  11. Aug 17, 2004 #10

    Mk

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    yup :smile:
     
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