Wood science and technology (WST) is aimed at efficient utilisation of timber. Basically, wood technologists use their know-how to manage and improve wood and wood products. If you plan to pursue it as your career then you would be trained in wood physics, chemistry and anatomy, timber mechanics and engineering, wood seasoning (drying), wood preservation, wood working (machining operations) and finishing, saw milling, product design, composite wood, timber entomology and wood microbiology. You can join wood/furniture industries, plywood industries, buying houses for exports, or as research scholars and scientists in some institutes. As a wood technologist you should be ideally trained in physical properties of wood which would help you to identify and suggest alternate timbers for various uses. To evaluate and assess durability of the wood and also suggest preservative treatments to increase the life of wood, you are required to know chemistry of wood. Timber mechanics is an important area where you would use the information for structural use of wood.
What do they do?
As a Wood Technologist you will have to study methods of curing wood and exploring methods for converting wood into commodities, such as alcohol, veneer, plywood, wood plastics and other uses. You will have to analyse physical, chemical and biological properties of wood. You will also be developing and improving methods of preserving and treating wood with substances to increase resistance to wear, fire, fungi and infestation.
- Knowledge of physics, chemistry, material science, structural and chemical engineering, mechanics
- Observation, analytical and creative skills
- Ability to manage labourers
- A very positive attitude to work in an unorganised sector
How do I get there?
In order to become a Wood Technologist you should opt for science at the plus-two level. To enroll for MSc in wood science and technology, you require a BSc in physics, chemistry and maths or BSc in forestry. Selection is done through an all-India entrance test conducted at various centres. You could later consider a doctorate. Some universities take in candidates for PhDs in wood science through a written test followed by an interview. Candidates with degrees in chemical engineering, civil engineering and material science, too, are eligible. The main objective of wood science research and education is “to lessen the burden on forests and fulfil the demand for wood through rational utilisation of plantation timbers,” says SC Joshi, director of Institute of Wood Science and Technology.