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What Type of Wood Burns Best?

based on 30 ratings
Author: Sofia PC

Grade Level: 6th-9th; Type: Chemistry


To test how different types of wood burn.

Research Questions:

  • What happens during combustion (when things are burned)?
  • What types of wood burn the quickest?

All wood burns, but do some kinds of food burn faster than others? This experiment demands a high level of caution. Please do not perform it without an adult present.


  • Different types of woods such as cedar, fir, pine, and oak
  • Lighter or a torch
  • Portable fire-resistant surface
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Protective and fire-resistant clothing, gloves, and goggles (just in case)

Experimental Procedure:

  1. With an adult, go to an open field.
  2. Take your first small piece of wood and set it on fire, being careful not to allow the flames to spread.
  3. Place the burning wood on a fire resistant surface and watch it burn until it turns into ashes. Record the time.
  4. Do the same for your other pieces of wood and record the times.
  5. Compare your results. Which type of wood burned the fastest and the most violently?

Terms/Concepts: combustion; fire; wood

References: Combustion; Fire and Combustion Chemistry; Physical Chemistry, by P.W. Atkins (Oxford University Press, 2001)

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