Does Wood Conduct Heat? [Check The Facts]

Wood is a common material used for construction and crafting purposes. Despite its widespread use, there is a lot of confusion about the thermal properties of wood. So, does wood conduct heat?

Dry wood is a low conductor of heat because of its density and low moisture. There are no movable electrons on dry wood. When heat is applied, there are no electrons to let the heat pass through the wood. This is why wood is a poor conductor of heat.

The structure of wood does not have any free electrons to scatter when heated. Dry wood conducts less heat than wet wood or metal. 

3 Reasons Why Wood Is a Poor Conductor Of Heat: Check Now

The thermal conductivity of material changes because of some reasons. Here are the 3 reasons that made wood a poor conductor of heat.

1. No Movable Electrons: 

Wood includes molecules with covalent bonds. The electrons in wood are firmly bonded to the nucleus of the atom, so there are no free electrons. As a result, it can’t conduct heat as it must pass the heat through electrons. 

2. Moisture: 

Here, moisture means water. Dry wood contains less than 10% of moisture. This is not enough for electrons to flow. As water is an insulator, the presence of water would make wood a good conductor. That’s how moisture prevents wood from being an insulator.

3. Thermal Properties:

Wood has low thermal properties because of its structure. The percentage of void space in a plank of wood is very much low. As the thermal property of wood is very much low, it also affects the conductivity of wood. 

How Is Burning Wood A Chemical Change

Is Wood Conductive When Wet?

As you know, wood is a poor conductor of heat because of low moisture. So, will it be conductive when wet? Check more about this query below.

Wet wood has water, and the ion present there will act as charge carriers. There will be free electrons now. This ion will make the wood conductive and will help the heat and electricity to pass through. 

Because of the ions in the water, there will be less resistance than before. Thus, electricity will now pass through the wood. The presence of water makes the wet wood compatible with conducting heat. That’s why the conductivity of wet wood is higher than dry wood.

Differences Between Conductor(Metal) & Insulator(Wood):

Conductors and insulators are two types of material. Check the common differences between them below.

CurrentEasily conducts the electrical currentDoes not conduct any current
ResistanceResistance is very smallVery high resistance 
BondingFormed using metallic bondingFormed using ionic bonding
Valence ElectronOne valence electron in the outermost orbitEight valence electrons in the outermost orbit
Other examplesMetals, aluminum, copper, etc.Paper, rubber, etc.


Is Wood a Good Or Bad Conductor Of Heat?

Wood is a bad conductor of heat as it doesn’t conduct electricity. Unlike other types of energy, wood does not have free electrons to scatter when it’s heated. Therefore, it cannot be converted into another form of energy. Wood is covalently bound as a compound. 

Materials that don’t conduct heat and are poor conductors are considered insulators. As wood doesn’t permit heat and electricity to pass through it, it’s an insulator.

Is Wood A Better Conductor Than Metal?

Conductors are those who give very little resistance to the flow of an electron. That means when a material is heated, its electrons will start to vibrate. Wood doesn’t have any movable ions, which is why it isn’t a good conductor of heat.

On the other hand, metal is a better conductor because the electrons of metals can move around freely when heated. Comparatively, wood is not a better conductor than metal.

Why Does Wood Catch Fire If It Doesn’t Conduct Heat?

Even though wood is a poor conductor of heat, it easily catches fire. The reason behind this is very interesting. Wood catches fire because it doesn’t have strong chemical bonds in it. So, when the wood is heated with flames, it can’t absorb the energy from the flame.

When there is too much energy from the flame, wood releases the energy by catching fire. This is why wood doesn’t conduct heat but can catch fire.

How Much Electricity Does Wood Conduct?

If a material has no electrons, it won’t conduct electricity. As wood is an insulator and doesn’t have free electrons, it doesn’t conduct electricity. Other materials, such as metal, have free electrons, and that’s why they are a good conductor of electricity.

As you know, wood is a poor conductor but still a conductor, it will pass the electricity only if it’s wet. A block of wet wood will pass high-voltage electricity through it. 

Why Is Tree A Conductor?

A block of wood cannot conduct electricity, but a tree can. This is because a dry block of wood doesn’t have free electrons and works as an insulator. On the other hand, a tree is a conductor as it has water content on it.

Water is a good conductor of electricity. The water present in the tree lets the electricity pass through it. The electrical resistivity of different trees depends on the wood and water present in them.

Final Thoughts

I guess now you don’t have any more confusion about does wood conduct heat or not. Wood, wet wood, and trees are different conductors of heat because of their structure and moisture. Dry wood is an inferior conductor of heat and doesn’t conduct electricity. On the other hand, wet wood and trees conduct electricity because of the free electrons. 


[Solved] Which of the following is a bad conductor of heat? (2022, September 21). Retrieved February 9, 2023, from–590c4f543005ba06ffd30611#

Why is a Tree a Conductor? | Energized by Edison. (n.d.). Energized by Edison. Retrieved February 9, 2023, from

About Sam Maxi

Hi, this is Sam Maxi. I love talking about woodwork tools and my reviews are mostly based on the experience I have from my work. Apart from reviewing, I am a huge fan of surfing. Also, I love watching horror genre movies.

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