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In materials science texts, I see wood used an example of a naturally occurring composite material. One of the main components of wood is cellulose, which is a polymer. But what other component makes it a composite?

Thanks for any clarification.

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    $\begingroup$ This question is answered in the 2nd sentence of the Wikipedia article on wood. $\endgroup$
    – The Photon
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:11
  • $\begingroup$ @ThePhoton Perhaps I misunderstood the definition of composite. Is a material with two types of polymers considered a composite? Or must it the material contain a type of polymer with a type of ceramic and/or metal? My understanding is that lignin and cellulose are both polymers. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ If this is for a class, that might depend on exactly what definition is given in your class. Wikipedia just says the component materials should have "significantly different physical or chemical properties". $\endgroup$
    – The Photon
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:37
  • $\begingroup$ @ThePhoton I'm reading the textbook Materials Science and Engineering by William Callister and David Rethwisch. It says the following: A composite is composed of two (or more) individual materials that come from the categories previously discussed -- metals, ceramics, and polymers. I thought that meant that the material must be at least from 2 of those 3 categories, but I might have interpreted it incorrectly? It might mean that it can be 2 polymers, 2 metals, 2 ceramics, etc.? $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:40
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    $\begingroup$ No, all of the components can belong to the same 'category' (e.g. metal-metal composites). $\endgroup$
    – lemon
    Commented Mar 10, 2019 at 20:42

1 Answer 1

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the two components of wood-as-a-composite are cellulose fibers and lignin, the resin in which the cellulose fibers are embedded. Cellulose furnishes strength in tension and the resin furnishes strength in shear.

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