Is wood stronger than steel?
Each Giant Sequoia can occupy over 1 acre of earth, contain over 90,000 cubic feet of soil, and reach 300 feet in height. That’s quite a massive tree. So, what keeps them from falling down? The structural foundation of any wood is something called “lignin,” which gives wood its strength. Scientists have now discovered that these lignins can be assembled in such a way to be eight times stronger than steel.
While Mother Nature provides the base ingredients, engineers, biochemists, and tech experts have been fine-tuning original wood fibers and planks to come up with products such as cross-laminated timber (mass timber), laminated veneer lumber, and other wood compounds that are less energy-intensive than more environmentally impactful elements like concrete and steel. Additionally, these products are often easier to assemble than less predictable plain wood, appealing to architects, general contractors, and city planners. Plus, they’re naturally beautiful.
Recent advancements in wood technology have opened up an entirely new frontier for scientists, engineers, and technicians to use wood in entirely new ways. As the world looks to sustainable and renewable resources, wood is rising to the top, presenting those hungry for the leading edge to play an elemental role in a more regenerative future.