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Do different types of firewood produce different amounts of heat?Featured science projectScience project video


The materials required for this experiment:

  • 3 pieces of oak wood (each cut to approximately 10cm x 3cm x 1cm)
  • 3 pieces of maple wood (each cut to approximately 10cm x 3cm x 1cm)
  • 3 pieces of cedar wood (each cut to approximately 10cm x 3cm x 1cm)
  • 3 pieces of pine wood (each cut to approximately 10cm x 3cm x 1cm)
  • A 500ml beaker
  • A thermometer
  • A lighter
  • A tripod stand for the beaker
  • 2 liters of tap water
  • A stop watch
  • A ceramic tile (250mm x 250mm) or 2 bricks
  • A small bottle of kerosene 


  1. For this experiment, the independent variable is the type of wood used. The dependent variable is the temperature of the water. This is determined by measuring the temperature using a thermometer. The constants (control variables) are the amount of firewood used, the amount of water used, the formation of the 4 wood pieces and the height of the beaker from the firewood.
  2. Fill the beaker with 300ml of water. Measure the temperature of the water then put it aside
  3. Place the ceramic tile or bricks on the table. Be sure to protect the table with a large baking tray or aluminum foil. The 4 pieces of oak wood are arranged on the tiles in a tent-like or grid-like formation. Ensure that the tiles are arranged in a manner that prevents the burning wood from touching the table. Sprinkle a small measured amount of kerosene (eg. 10 ml) on the wood and using the lighter, start a fire.
  4. The wood is allowed to burn for 1 minute, then the tripod stand is placed over the fire
  5. Place the beaker on the tripod stand and record the temperature of the water every minute for 5 minutes. All the readings are recorded in the table below.
  6. wood combustion science project
  7. Repeat procedures 2 to 5 using the maple wood, cedar wood and pinewood. All of the measurements are recorded in the table given below.


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Complexity level:
Project cost ($):
Time required:
1 hour to prepare, 1 hour for experiment
Material availability:
Easily found
Safety concerns:

Fire hazard. Parents should supervise the experiment and handle all flammable materials. This experiment should be undertaken only under the watchful eye of an adult. A fire extinguisher should be kept on hand at all times for safety and no flammable gases/materials should be present in the vicinity of the experiment.