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Introduction to Wood Material

Wood remains one of the most important renewable materials available to humans. With its excellent strength-to-weight ratio, it maintains a significant market presence, even amidst competition from man-made materials.

To make the best use of this resource, it is crucial to understand the links between the structure and anatomy of wood and its properties. Now, the basics of wood can be studied through convenient online courses, available regardless of time and place. Introduction to Wood Material is a set of two engaging courses introducing learners to the world of wood.

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Learn from Aalto University experts with years of experience in wood science and material analysis.

Access course materials anytime, anywhere, and progress at your own pace.

Gain a holistic understanding of wood material and its properties.

Successful completion of the courses leads to academically validated micro-credentials that can be used to showcase newly acquired knowledge and skills, for example, to future employers.

After the completion of the course, you will 

  • Be able to describe wood formation, name the components that form the cell wall, and explain their functions. 
  • Understand the basic macro-level structure and features of wood and be able to describe the basics of wood grain orientation. 
  • Be able to list typical softwood and hardwood cell types and their functions. 
  • Be able to calculate wood moisture content and explain how moisture influences wood dimensional changes through cell-level interaction. 
  • Describe factors affecting wood durability and list the European durability and use classes. 
  • Recognize the influence of grain angle, knots, and other natural features of wood on its mechanical properties. 


The courses are suitable for professionals in various industries interested in gaining an understanding of wood material. There are no prerequisites to join the course.

Program Structure

Introduction to Wood Material is a set of two online courses, the first focusing on wood structure and anatomy, and the second focusing on wood properties.

The courses can be purchased as a set or separately.

Part 1: Wood Structure and Anatomy (1 ECTS)

The first course presents the structure of wood material, including macroscopic features such as earlywood, latewood, heartwood, sapwood, and knots. Additionally, wood formation and the basic cell types are presented, as well as the main structural constituents of wood: lignin, cellulose, and hemicelluloses. 

  • What is Wood 
  • Wood structure 
  • Cells in wood 
  • Heartwood, sapwood, and growth rings 
  • Juvenile wood, reaction wood, and knots 
  • Wood species 

Part 2: Wood Properties (1 ECTS)

The second course links the basic anatomical features of wood, such as grain orientation and knots, to its properties relevant in the built environment. The basic concepts of wood density and strength are presented. The interaction between wood and water is described in the cell level with links to wood properties such as dimensional stability. In addition, the course gives examples of factors influencing the durability of wood and lists the durability classes according to the European standard. 

  • Wood and water 
  • Durability 
  • Wood density 
  • Mechanical properties 
  • Other properties  


Kristiina Lillqvist

Kristiina Lillqvist is a highly qualified wood science researcher and educator with a strong academic background and industry connections.Kristiinaworks asa Senior University Lecturer at Aalto University in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems.

Kristiina has years of experience in developing online learning experiences with a student-centric teaching philosophy. In her research, she focuses on improving the properties of wood by different modification methods in the Wood Material Science research group.

Kristiina holds a doctoral degree in Wood Technology from Aalto University (2014) and has completed Professional Teacher Education.

Program Fee and Registration

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