If you are looking for an extremely durable type of wood to use around the house, then you have come to the right place. Today, we are here to take a look at what has to be one of the most durable types of wood out there, ipe.
Today, we want to find out whether this material is hardwood or softwood and, and how strong it really is. We’re going to be looking at this wood based on a variety of factors to determine exactly how strong it is.
Is Ipe a Hardwood or Softwood?
Ipe is an angiosperm, a deciduous flowering tree that is a hardwood. For those of you who don’t know, this tree is also known as Brazilian walnut. Moreover, it is known for being one of the most durable and resilient types of wood out there.
Let’s move on and find out why this is.
Ipe Wood Strength: All You Need to Know
Unlike some other trees out there, there is only one type of ipe. Today, we want to find out exactly how durable and strong this wood is. To do this, we’re going to take a look at five main factors that determine the overall strength of wood. These five factors include compressive strength, bending strength, stiffness, hardness, and density.
Ipe features a compressive strength of 13,600 lbf per square inch (93.8 MPa).
Based on this, ipe is a wood that has one of the highest compressive strengths of all. For instance, ebony comes in at just over 11,000 lbf per square inch. Hard maple comes in at just under 8,000 lbf per square inch. Even most species of oak come in at under 9,000. Of course, it’s also stronger than virtually all types of softwood. Even the world-renowned black ironwood isn’t nearly as strong in terms of crushing strength.
The compressive strength of wood may also be referred to as the crushing strength. The crushing strength of wood refers to how much weight a piece of wood can take parallel to the grain. To visualize this, you could imagine a table leg with weight being placed on top of it. How much weight can that table leg take before it buckles?
The modulus of rupture of ipe is 25,660 lbf per inch squared (177 MPa).
Based on this, it is also safe to assume that this wood has one of the highest bending strengths of all varieties out there. It’s really stacking up to be a very strong type of wood. For instance, ebony comes in at just under 23,000.
Hard maple has a modulus of rupture of just 15,800, with most types of oak coming in at well under 19,000, and all types of softwood coming in well below that. Even black ironwood doesn’t have nearly as high a modulus of rupture as ipe. This is just all around one of the most resilient types of wood in the world.
For those of you who don’t know what the bending strength is, this may also be called the modulus of rupture. This refers to how much weight a piece of wood can take perpendicular to the grain. As an example, imagine a stick hanging horizontally on a wall. If you hang a bucket off of that stick, how much weight can you put in the bucket before the stick snaps?
The modulus of elasticity of this wood is 3,200,000 lbf per square inch (22.07 GPa).
As the going theme is, this also makes ipe one of the stiffest types of wood out there, which means it takes a whole lot of force to make it bend. For instance, ebony comes in at under 2,500,000, hard maple comes in at just over 1,800,000, most species of oak top out at around 2,300,000, and no species of softwood gets anywhere close to this. Even ironwood comes in at under 3,000,000.
This measurement is known as the stiffness of wood, or the modulus of elasticity. This refers to how much weight a piece of wood can hold before it begins to sag. For example, if a piece of wood is supported on either side by a pair of bricks, how much weight can you put on the middle of it before it begins to bend?
Ipe is also one of the hardest types of wood out there as it comes in at 3,510 lbf on the Janka hardness scale.
As a point of reference, ebony comes in at just over 3,000, hard maple and most species of oak come in at under 1,500, and virtually all types of softwood come in at well below that. What is interesting to note is that black ironwood is actually slightly harder, coming in at 3,660 lbf. Although a select few types of wood are a little harder than ipe, in the grand scheme of things it is extremely tough.
We then have the hardness of wood, which simply refers to how hard the outer surface is. In other words, how resilient towards physical damage is that piece of wood? Here, we’re talking about scratching and denting. This is usually measured on the Janka hardness scale.
Ipe features a density of 69 lbs per cubic foot (1,100 kilograms per meter squared).
This makes ipe by far one of the heaviest types of wood out there. ebony comes in at 60 lbs per cubic foot, hard maple comes in at 44 lbs per cubic foot, most types of oak come in at under 50 lbs per cubic foot, and virtually all types of softwood come in at well below that. We then have black ironwood, which is actually much heavier, coming in at 84 lbs per cubic foot.
The density of wood refers to how heavy a piece of wood is. This is generally in reference to a specific area or size. This is usually measured in either kilograms per cubic meter or pounds per cubic foot. The weight of wood is not only important to know because it tells you about its durability, but also because it tells you about how easy it is to work with.
Is Ipe Strong?
In the grand scheme of things, ipe is indeed one of the very strongest types of wood out there. It is one of the top contenders in all of the categories that we have examined today.
If you need a piece of wood that is hard, doesn’t easily bend, and can take a lot of weight, both perpendicular and parallel to the grain, then ipe is an absolutely fantastic wood to consider.