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Wood Structure and its Physical Properties

COURSE NO: S03-002
COURSE PROVIDER: Gilbert Gedeon, P.E.
Wood Structure and its Physical Properties
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides guidance for the efficient use of wood as a construction material. It provides engineers, architects, and others with a source of information on the structure of wood as well as its physical properties; and how these properties are affected by variations in the wood itself.


The fibrous nature of wood strongly influences how it is used. Wood is primarily composed of hollow, elongate, spindle-shaped cells that are arranged parallel to each other along the trunk of a tree. When lumber and other products are cut from the tree, the characteristics of these fibrous cells and their arrangement affect such properties as strength and shrinkage as well as the grain pattern of the wood. The versatility of wood is demonstrated by a wide variety of products. This variety is a result of a spectrum of desirable physical characteristics or properties among the many species of wood.


This 3 PDH online course is applicable to structural engineers, design and construction, and other technical professionals who are interested in gaining a better understanding of the structure and physical properties of wood.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Distinguishing between different layers (bark, cambium, heartwood, sapwood and pith
  • Understanding wood cells and growth rings
  • Understanding the chemical composition and identifying the various wood species
  • Familiarization with the various appearances of wood
  • Learning about the moisture content and shrinkage properties
  • Learning about the weight, density and specific gravity of wood
  • Understanding the working qualities and decay resistance of wood
  • Understanding the thermal, electrical and radioactive properties of wood
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review Chapters 2 and 3 of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Publication FPL-GTR-113, "Wood as Engineering Material".

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
Wood Structure and its Physical Properties (1.09 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of twenty (20) questions to earn 3 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on Chapters 2 and 3 of this USDA publication.
The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you may print your Certificate of Completion after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email you your Certificate of Completion. Also, you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: