Thin, light, cheap and strong as wood material?

  1. Hi,
    I am currently constructing a science fair project, and I was wondering if anybody knew any thin material that was relatively light weight, cheap, and as strong as wood. I understand that carbon fiber exists, but this material is rather expensive. If anyone knows alternatives to using wood or carbon fiber, please inform me.
    Thanks.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Why can't you use wood? Fibre glass might work depending upon the application.
     
  4. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,381
    Gold Member

    Aluminum. You can buy it in thin sheets at your local hardware store, or even at some hobby stores.

    You should share with us the intended application. The material chosen will depend on this. For example, sheet aluminum is light and string but will bend.
     
  5. Its intended application is for a shaft, approxamately 1.5" wide, but I only need less than .5" of the material. It is intended to be wraped around the shaft. Sorry I cannot give away more, because I still want to keep my science fair idea rather confidential.
    Thanks.
     
  6. Danger

    Danger 9,878
    Gold Member

    So you're not talking about the shaft itself, but merely a material to bind it?
    If it's the shaft, bamboo is straight, cheap, and even stronger than carbon fibre. I don't know whether or not that counts as wood, though. For wrapping, you can get fibreglass packing tape at any hardware store. The lifespan is limited, since it crystalizes after a few years.
    If you're a Red Green fan, never forget the "handyman's secret weapon"... :uhh:
     
  7. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,381
    Gold Member

    What?? These statements seem almost contradictory.

    The shaft is 1.5" in diameter, OK.

    Do you already have the shaft? And you are looking for a material to wrap around the shaft? That needs to be some pretty flexible material! How would you do that with wood?? .5" of wood would never wrap around a shaft.

    Or are you maknig the shaft out of this material? And the wall of the shaft need be only .5" thick? I?f so, what is it that is getting wrapped around the shaft?
     
  8. Alright, I see how those statements can appear contradictory, so I will explain it clearer. Lets say there is a shaft, 1" wide, and I want to wrap .5" of some material around it to reinforce it and make it stronger. Wood would not work for this project because even if I used flexible wood, it would not be able to mold itself to the shaft. So, I am looking for a material that is as strong as wood, but flexible enough to be able to be wrapped around a shaft. That is why I am currently looking at fiber glass, but I am open to more suggestions.
    Hopefully this cleared it up.
    Thanks!
     
  9. Vanadium 50

    Vanadium 50 18,055
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Epoxy?
     
  10. DaveC426913

    DaveC426913 16,381
    Gold Member

    What properties does the end-product need to have? How precise? At high rotational speeds, any freeform material such as fibreglass will generate vibrations.
     
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