Why does wood split radially?

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I imagine this would work, say you very carefully controlled the drying of a tree trunk cross section so that it took 100 years, then it would probably not split until after the first fifty years or so had passed.
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Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Also a bit backward. As the FPL says, the shrinkage tangentially is greatest. Thus the radial checks - perpendicular to tangential force.
Take a log and measure a chord which does not cross latewood near the center. Let's say it's an inch at best at 20 years. Now go out near the outside and measure a chord of say 5 inches at seventy. With a 10% rate of shrinkage, it means the interior wants to lose 1/10 of an inch, the farther, 5/10. The difference is made up in open air as the radial split opens.
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On Thu, 12 May 2005 12:41:36 -0700, "Pounds on Wood"

That's an excellent explanation. It also accounts for why the splits are wider, further from the center.
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