Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Whats the chemichal composition of oak wood?

  1. Oct 30, 2008 #1
    Whats the chemical composition of oak wood? I want to know because I am trying to cut wood by changing the chemical compound of the places that i want to cut it at by putting a chemical that would bond to the wood, and the new compund of my chemical and wood would be a gas.

    I dont know if it would work or not, but i hope it would work kinda the same way as baking soda and vinegar combine and get changed, execpt the wood would be the "baking soda" and the special chemical would be the "vinegar"
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 30, 2008 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

  4. Nov 5, 2008 #3

    jim mcnamara

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    The main structure of wood cells is formed from cellulose. The cells are held together by lignin. If lignin is even partially removed the wood loses structural integrity and can be cut quickly or bent without breaking.

    You should check out the concept of digestibility of lignin. Typically it is done with strong acids or sometimes a strong base. Heat can also affect lignin bonding - steam baths are used to heat wood so it can be bent.

    Here is a paper on digesting lignin in softwoods and in Quercus (red oak sub-genus):
    http://jas.fass.org/cgi/reprint/36/4/768.pdf [Broken]

    For anything to do with wood engineering and chemistry always start here:
    check out the publications area
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  5. Nov 11, 2008 #4


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    You might try an oxygen lance. You apply the chemical (heated somewhat) to where you want to cut and a gas (largely CO2) is produced.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook