Wood with Dan Ridley-Ellis
In this episode, Anna talks to Dan Ridley-Ellis about wood. As an expert whose job it is to sort the wood from the trees (see below), Dan’s perspectives on how the structural properties of wood as a material depend on the living organism of the tree will totally change the way you look at trees. He also told us that most of the things we thought were trees are not actually trees after all, so maybe you won’t be looking at a tree and thinking differently about it because what you’re looking at won’t actually be a tree. Anyway, this episode is an awesome blend of engineering, materials science and forestry.
Dan Ridley-Ellis is head of the Centre Wood Science and Technology at Edinburgh Napier University. He is one of the UK’s technical experts on guessing the strength of wood and can talk for hours on the topic – which he frequently does if nobody stops him. His main area of research is understanding the properties of wood, and how they are influenced by tree growth, forest management, and climate. He represents the UK at European Standards Committees for grading of construction timber, and the majority of structural sawn timber produced in the UK is now graded with settings he developed. He was named “woodland hero” for 2016 by Grown in Britain, and was part of the team that was awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize in 2015 for work in timber engineering, sustainable construction and wood science. He is also active in online learning, public engagement and science communication. He is the lead organiser of Bright Club Edinburgh.
Read more about Dan on his blog.