Grade Level: 6th-9th; Type: Chemistry
To test how different types of wood burn.
- 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)
- With an adult, go to an open field.
- Take your first small piece of wood and set it on fire, being careful not to allow the flames to spread.
- Place the burning wood on a fire resistant surface and watch it burn until it turns into ashes. Record the time.
- Do the same for your other pieces of wood and record the times.
- 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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