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Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

MDF is a wood-based material. It has the highest density among wood-based materials. In addition, it has the lowest ductility and the highest thermal conductivity. The graph bars on the material properties cards below compare MDF to other wood-based materials (top) and the entire database (bottom). A full bar means this is the highest value in the relevant set. A half-full bar means it's 50% of the highest, and so on.

Mechanical Properties

Compressive (Crushing) Strength

10 MPa 1.5 x 103 psi

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus

4.0 GPa 0.58 x 106 psi

Elongation at Break

0.5 %

Poisson's Ratio


Shear Modulus

2.5 GPa 0.36 x 106 psi

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS)

18 MPa 2.6 x 103 psi

Thermal Properties

Specific Heat Capacity

1700 J/kg-K 0.41 BTU/lb-°F

Thermal Conductivity

0.3 W/m-K 0.17 BTU/h-ft-°F

Thermal Expansion

12 µm/m-K

Other Material Properties


0.75 g/cm3 47 lb/ft3

Dielectric Strength (Breakdown Potential)

0.5 kV/mm 0.020 V/mil

Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial

3.0 points

Stiffness to Weight: Bending

71 points

Strength to Weight: Axial

6.7 points

Strength to Weight: Bending

20 points

Thermal Diffusivity

0.24 mm2/s

Thermal Shock Resistance

27 points

Followup Questions

Further Reading

Wood Handbook: Wood as an Engineering Material, Forest Products Laboratory, USDA Forest Service, 1999

CRC Materials Science and Engineering Handbook, 4th ed., James F. Shackelford et al. (editors), 2015