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


The hypothesis that hardwoods produce more heat as compared to soft wood is proven to be true. The hardwood gave out more heat when burned, thus driving up the temperature of the water higher than in the case of softwoods. In addition, they burned for a longer period of time as compared to the soft wood.

With the rising prices of electrical heating, oil and gas, the use of firewood for burning is an alternative source of cheaper energy. However overuse of firewood for burning will lead to pollution and deforestation. In addition, the carbon dioxide gases released into the atmosphere from an open fire contribute to global warming and ocean acidification.

Also consider

The experiment can be repeated by measuring the amount of time taken for the wood to burn out.

Try to repeat the experiment using an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of the fire directly.

Try using a different formation of the wood pieces for burning. Would the results be different?


  • What is the best firewood? - 
  • Firewood and cordwood -
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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.