One of the most commonly used materials all around us is wood. There are many different kinds of woods with wide ranging mechanical, physical, and thermal properties, which make them suitable for different applications. From building houses to making kitchenware, wood is an ideal and easy to use material. In general, wood is broadly available at reasonable prices and is easily formable, making it desirable for construction work. Of course, depending on the application, different properties of wood are desirable. For example, for building a house with wood, high strength is desired, whereas for making a cutting board, you probably want something that has a harder surface so it doesn’t get dented easily. Wolfram|Alpha now has a large database of all kinds of wood and their various properties.
There are various ways you can obtain data on woods using Wolfram|Alpha. If you need to quickly skim through the different kinds of woods, Wolfram|Alpha can generate a quick report of properties of a certain kind of wood.
In the example above, Wolfram|Alpha shows all the available properties for pine wood grouped by relevance. As there are many different kinds of pine wood, Wolfram|Alpha reports the mean value and provides information for the lowest and highest available values in the group, as well as a histogram showing the distribution of these values. Of course, if you want to see the properties for a specific kind of pine wood, you can either type it in or choose it from the assumptions drop-down menu at the top of the page.
A property can have different values based on different kinds of measurements or the condition in which it was measured. This is indicated in gray parentheses next to the name of the property. An example of this can be seen in the figure above, where different values for the property “shrinkage” are reported based on the orientation of shrinkage.
Wolfram|Alpha also allows you to do a side by side comparison of a couple of different kinds of wood quite easily. Just type in the names of the woods.
Seeing a summary report of all the properties is very useful and has many advantages. However, sometimes you may just need to quickly look up the value for a specific property. Simply type in the name of the wood and the property you need to see.
An average result is returned along with a Members pod showing the various types of pine wood that Wolfram|Alpha knows about. Click the “Show details” button to see some statistical information on the value reported.
As can be seen, the lowest value belongs to green spruce pine and the highest value belongs to dry pond pine. A histogram shows the distribution of these values, and a footnote denotes how many entities were used in computing the result.
Wolfram|Alpha has data for about 500 types of wood. This is yet another big step we have taken toward our goal for housing one of the most comprehensive databases for materials in general.