Wood Dimensional Changes

Luis Carli

When designing structures made of wood, the designer/architect needs to take into account how pieces of wood change size according to the variation of the moisture content of the environment. As a piece of wood exchanges moisture with its surroundings, it can shrink or swell.

I partnered with researcher Rafael Passarelli to develop those first of its kind interactive visualization that shows how much wood changes its size in different cities of the world.

We started by building a database with the average highs and lows of temperature, humidity and moisture content of selected cities. We used that data to show the absolute and relative dimensional change of selected species in those cities.

Absolute change refers to how much a piece of green wood shrinks as it dries. The relative change shows how much a piece of wood can still change after achieving equilibrium. The graph shows the expected variation within a selected month and the maximum amount of changes along the year from that month.