Does wood shrink and swell with changes in moisture content?

Wood Products December 12, 2012 Print Friendly and PDF

Yes, wood will shrink as it looses moisture and swell as it gains moisture, when it is below the fiber saturation point or 30% moisture content (oven dry basis). Wood shrinks and swells different amounts in each plane of reference (width, thickness and length). The difference in shrinkage is caused by the orientation of microfibrils in the cell wall and differences in anatomical characteristics within the wood. Normal wood shrinks twice much in the tangential direction (width of a plain sawn board) as the radial direction (thickness of a planesawn board) and virtually not at all in length when dried from the green condition to the oven dry condition.


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