Skip to main content

composition board

composition board, wood product produced in the form of a board or sheet, formed of cellulose fibers or particles derived from wood or other sources, and used principally as a building material. The oldest type of composition board is a relatively dense material known as hardboard, discovered accidentally in 1924 by the American scientist William Mason. After obtaining wood fibers by using high-pressure steam, Mason attempted to dry a matlike mass of them in a steam press. Because of a faulty valve, the press remained hot longer than had been planned and thus the first piece of hardboard was formed. In other forms of composition board the fibers are not as closely packed, and the density is correspondingly lower. Some of these boards find application as insulating and soundproofing materials. Other similar types are treated with waterproofing material, e.g., asphalt applied under pressure, and are usable as the sheathing of buildings. Such materials typically have a resistance to shearing forces exceeding that of plywood. Particle board, another form of composition board, is made by binding wood particles ranging in size from flakes to sawdust together with a suitable adhesive, such as a plastic resin, and pressing or extruding them to form sheets. Particle board is used as a cheaper substitute for plywood in some applications; but even though it has a higher density, it is less resistant to puncture and the effects of weather. When properly veneered it is suitable for making furniture. In its raw form it makes an excellent subflooring for dry locations.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"composition board." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . 23 Jul. 2019 <>.

"composition board." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . (July 23, 2019).

"composition board." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved July 23, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.