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Aerospace Type of Wood for Model Airfoil Construction

  1. Aug 7, 2009 #1
    I am constructing a few model airfoils for some low speed wind tunnel tests. I will be using wooden ribs covered in Mylar. I was just wondering what kind of wood is best for this situation: balsa, basswood, or a different kind of wood.

    Thank you
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 7, 2009 #2


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    If weight isn't an issue, it would probably be cheapest, and just as effective, to use low-grade plywood or fibreboard.
  4. Aug 7, 2009 #3
    Why are you covering it in mylar?
  5. Aug 7, 2009 #4
    I'd say balsa is probably the best as its the lightest and stiffest and its easy to work with. If cost is an issue go with what danger said.

    Depending on the accuracy needed, you may want to consider a high density modelling foam. Its much much cheaper than wood, a lot faster to work with if you are going to be makign more than 1 aerofoil. Drawbacks are that, you really need a hot wire cutter to get the best out of it and that the surface will be rougher than a wood+mylar equivilant (although you can get it pretty damn smooth with a bit of work).
  6. Sep 26, 2009 #5
    Balsa is close to Spruce on the lightness scale.Spruce wins if you need stiffness as well.That`s why violin bellies are made of it.Size would affect the choice. Less need for bracing.If you need tennis court sizes the "Spruce Goose " model would suit your needs.That would be some wind tunnel!
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