This study focuses on the mechanical properties of different wood types related to Noah’s Ark and their degradation over time as the ark experienced over a year in water. The objective of this research was to evaluate the wood mechanical properties affected by water immersion as a function of time to see if the strength and stiffness would be diminished. Wood specimens from white oak, teak, and pitch-coated and non-coated southern yellow pine were chosen, because they represent upper and lower bounds of the elastic moduli and strengths of different wood types found around the world. Teak is thought to best represent gopher (term used in the bible) wood, since it was prevalently used as a structural material in the Middle East. The different wood types were soaked in fresh water and salt water for one year (the total time of the flood event). The tensile, compressive and flexural properties of the wood specimens were tested every two months, and the results were statistically analyzed. Since all of the wood types gave similar degradation trends in their mechanical properties over time, one would expect that the mechanical behaviors of gopher wood would exhibit the same trends. Even pitch was used to coat some wood specimens for comparison to provide understanding of the corrosion protection by water-proofing. The bottom line is that the mechanical properties and consequential dimensional stability of gopher wood would not have changed significantly by water immersion (30% maximum), even if it was in salt water and even if there were no pitch to cover the wood. This 30% reduction is not enough to diminish the structural integrity of the ark.


Ark, wood, mechanical properties, elastic modulus, tensile strength, compressive strength, water


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