How Hot Does Wood Burn?

Have you ever wondered how hot does wood burn?

A bonfire is bright and hot while the fire in a fireplace is hotter than brighter.

Fire in a wood burning stove is definitely hotter to cook food but is not too bright.

No, you don’t have to touch a bonfire or a wood burnings stove to learn how hot does it burn! Here is a guide to help you find out.

The temperature of burning wood

A can reach temperatures as hot as 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,012 degrees Fahrenheit). This is a temperature that is hot enough to melt aluminum. This is also hot enough to melt some metals.

Consider the three factors that are needed to make a good fire: oxygen, fuel, and heat. Fire is the resulting reaction of an interaction between wood and oxygen and this produces heat. Wood requires 16 percent oxygen to burn (air has 21 percent) therefore a well-built bonfire will get ultra-hot. To light a bonfire easily, wood needs to be correctly piled.

The arrangement of the logs will help a bonfire burn brighter and more efficiently. First place the tinder-like twigs and dry leaves. Then place sticks and preferably of around 1 inch round. Finally, place the logs. With this arrangement, the small pieces of wood will burn more easily than logs due to the fact that these will reach high temperatures quickly. The sticks will burn brightly which in turn provide enough heat for the logs to burn.

You must make bonfires using dry wood. Other types of materials like plastic are not pleasant to burn and can pose a threat to the environment. Plastic can produce toxic gases that can cause respiratory conditions. On the other hand, green wood and sticks won’t burn.

Most kinds of wood will start to combust at about 300 degrees Celsius. Gases will burn and improve the temperature of the wood to about 600 degrees Celsius (1,112 degrees Fahrenheit). After the wood has released its gases, it will create charcoal and ashes. On the other hand, charcoal burns at temperatures above 1,100 degrees Celsius (2,012 degrees Fahrenheit).

About wood burning fireplaces

Fire from burning wood is about 20% radiant and 80% hot gases. In traditional fireplace operation, most of the heat coming from a fireplace is radiant heat. About 90% of the heat from a wood burning fireplace actually moves out of the chimney and goes outdoors. This is a complete waste!

Therefore a well-designed and constructed fireplace is only 10% as efficient as a home heating unit. Take note that even a roaring fireplace will only be able to remove heat from a home rather than provide heat.

The different stages of burning wood

Wood burning is a three-stage process. First, moisture is evaporated and then removed from wood. Second, volatile materials start to vaporize into gases which happen at temperatures more than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The final stage is when gases and charcoal are burned at temperatures above 1100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Therefore to be able to burn wood more efficiently, it should be maintained at peak temperature to burn all the combustible materials found in wood. The amount of radiation coming from a fireplace can vary depending on the kind of fuel used, intensity and the size of the fire and the burning temperature of the fire.

This is why masonry brick linings in fireplaces reflect heat back to the fire to create the higher temperature necessary for good combustion.

Extinguishing bonfires

For all reasons, you must be careful when lighting and using bonfires or outdoor fires. In 2016, humans caused 60,932 wildfires that burn about 4 million acres of land. To ensure that bonfires don’t become a wildfire, you must extinguish it completely.

You must first allow the wood to burn into ash. When it has turned into ash, pour water on the ash and make sure all embers are wet. If there’s no water available, use dirt or sand to bury all embers and make sure the area is no longer hot before you leave.

Conclusion

Wood can get very, very hot at 1,100 degrees Celsius. There are many factors that affect the overall efficiency of a bonfire. Understanding how wood burns and the different factors that affect the wood burning process will help you find out how hot wood burns and how you can maintain a good fire. And of course, learning how to properly distinguish a bonfire is necessary for anyone who loves to light one.

  • January 5, 2019
  • DIY
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