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Styrofoam bearing capability

  1. Mar 7, 2008 #1
    Dear All,
    I have few questions:-
    Is styrofoam useful to bare heavy material weight?
    Is it light weight material?
    Waiting for reply.
    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2008 #2

    Danger

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    Gold Member

    Hi. I'm surprised that nobody has answered this yet. I was going to yesterday when I first read it, but waited because I figured that one of the experts would respond.
    Styrofoam (with upper-case 'S') is a brand name for a particular type of polystyrene. In general, it has a low density (weight is a function of gravity), but there are different forms of it. The same stuff that makes semi-rigid insulation panels also makes disposable coffee cups and 'peanuts' for packing fragile equipment... and none of those have the same consistency.
    The load-bearing capacity comes more from the engineering specifics of the structure than from the material itself. You could easily make a pyramid out of used cups that would support a person, or use beams made of the denser insulation material to build a truss system to support the same load with less volume of plastic.
    A lot of things from aeroplanes to movie models are made from a polystyrene core covered with something like Fiberglas (also a brand name) or carbon fibre. It gives a very light-weight structure without compromising strength.
    That's the best that I can do for you; it's not an area that I have much knowledge about.
     
  4. Mar 8, 2008 #3
    You simply rock!
    Thanks 4 valuable inputs.
     
  5. Mar 8, 2008 #4

    Danger

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    Gold Member

    You're totally welcome, but bear in mind that it's only a 'quick and dirty' answer. There are structural engineers and chemists here who can help you far more. You'll get better responses before too long.
     
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