Balsa Wood

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Balsa Wood
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Balsa is a very lightweight type of wood. It derives its name from ancient south-American rafts (commonly named ‘Balsa’ in Spanish), which were constructed by assembling lumbers of this particular wood together. The wood is obtained from the Ochroma pyramidale tree, commonly known as Balsa tree, after a long period of drying. The very low density of the dried material derives from large empty holes that are normally filled with water in the tree cells. However, the lignin and cellulose mix ensure high stiffness, therefore this material is widely used to create stiff but light structures in model tests or model aircrafts as well as full size wooden aeroplanes. Balsa wood is a very popular material used in composites for its properties; it can be found in wind turbines or in laminates with fibreglass to make surfboards and the topsides of many types of boats.

Sample ID: 239


Donated by
King’s College London
Light-wood | Lightweight | Low-density | Stiffness

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