Please note! Course description is confirmed for two academic years, which means that in general, e.g. Learning outcomes, assessment methods and key content stays unchanged. However, via course syllabus, it is possible to specify or change the course execution in each realization of the course, such as how the contact sessions are organized, assessment methods weighted or materials used.


After the course student:

  • Appraciates how trees sequeter atmospheric carbon, how wood products store carbon and how wood products may contribute to reducing the environmental and climate impact of building construction
  • Is familiar with tree growth and the ecological factors that affect it
  • Knows the key anatomical features of wood and is able to differentiate important softwood and hardwood species from their microstructures
  • Is familiar with the main chemical constituents of wood, their properties and how they make up the structure of the wood cell wall
  • Knows about the anisotropic nature of wood and appreciates how the anatomical structure of wood affects its physical and mechanical properties
  • Is familiar with the relationship between mass and volume in wood
  • Knows the states of water in wood and is familiar with how water affects the mechanical and physical properties of wood, as well as how it affects its durability
  • Is familiar with the thermal, electrical and acoustic properties of wood and appreciates its behaviour in fire
  • Is familiar with the key physical and biological agents responsible for the degradation of wood and how degradation may be mitigated
  • Knows about the short-term and long-term mechanical behaviour of wood under static and cyclical loading and appreciates how environmental factors affect this
  • Appreciates how wood might be utilised in healthy, energy and resource efficient buildings
  • Knows the main wood products and the typical applications for these products 
  • Is able to describe the key steps in the manufacture of solid wood and wood-based composite products

Credits: 5

Schedule: 13.09.2021 - 15.12.2021

Teacher in charge (valid for whole curriculum period):

Teacher in charge (applies in this implementation): Mark Hughes, Jenny Thors

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation):

CEFR level (valid for whole curriculum period):

Language of instruction and studies (applies in this implementation):

Teaching language: English. Languages of study attainment: English


  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Wood is a plentiful and renewable resource that should play a strong role in sustainable construction. The aim of this course it to introduce students to the structure of wood and its material properties as well as some of the important wood-based products and how they are manufactured. There is emphasis on the properties and products of wood relevant to applications in the built environment. Topics include: Tree growth and ecology; wood species; wood anatomy; wood ultrastructure; moisture and wood; short-term and long-term mechanical properties; wood degradation; acoustic and thermal behaviour; wood products; wood product manufacturing.

  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    3 cr = 81 h

    -       Lectures 0-30 h

    -       Other contact teaching 0-30 h

    -       Laboratory working 0-40 h

    -       Preparing for examination(s), simulations, exercises and reporting 0-50 h

    -       Examination(s) 2-10 h


    Additional 2 cr = 54 h (optional)

    -      Individual project (topic and methods to be agreed with teacher in charge)


Study Material
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    Lecture slides

    R. Bruce Hoadley, Understanding wood: A craftsman s guide to wood technology

    J.M. Dinwoodie, Timber: Its nature and behaviour ( 

    Other materials referred to in class


Substitutes for Courses
SDG: Sustainable Development Goals

    3 Good Health and Well-being

    11 Sustainable Cities and Communities

    12 Responsible Production and Consumption

    13 Climate Action


Further Information
  • valid for whole curriculum period:

    The target group of the course:

    -       Students of Wood Program (Department of Architecture)

    -       Bachelor/masters students of Aalto (especially CHEM, ARTS, ENG)

    -       Exchange students of materials science, polymer technology, civil and structural engineering, architecture, design or other

    Teaching Period:

    2020-2021 Autumn I-II

    2021-2022 Autumn I-II

    Course Homepage:

    Registration for Courses: In the academic year 2021-2022, registration for courses will take place on Sisu ( instead of WebOodi.