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Why Structural Foam Works

Or, how strong is your diving board?

Pretend you are hovering just above the water level in your pool on a nice sunny day and you look at the end of your diving board.

What do you see? If you are looking straight into the end of it, you see something that is about 40cm wide by 4cm thick.

Now imagine one of your guests is about to run, jump, and do a cannonball off the end of the board – and he just happens to weigh 500 pounds.

What do you think will happen? My guess is the the diving board will snap. The diving board would not be strong enough to support the load and it will bend past the point of no return until it fractures. 

You begin to wonder about how much things bend when you put weight on them. And you remember somewhere in the dark corner of your mind that there is a formula that describes how a beam (or diving board) deflects when under load. And you also remember that there is a trick to it. 

So what was the trick? It makes sense that a bigger board will be stiffer and be able to support more weight, right? But there was more. If you make the diving board twice as wide it will be twice as strong, and if you make the board twice as thick it becomes eight times as stiff. That was it — thickness is a lot more effective than width in making beams (or diving boards) stronger.

All of this gets you thinking about a project at work where you need to make a plastic part stronger and you suddenly realize that the way to get there is to make it thicker. Right now, the part is made by injection moulding and it is about .125″ (3mm) thick. Using your new found diving board wisdom you realize that, given the load that your part is under, it would have to be about .250″ (6mm) thick to work the way you need it to. But, you know with you cannot make it that thick using normal injection moulding. 

Picture, if you will, the world of structural foam moulding. Here at Horizon Plastics, we use a low pressure process which is perfect for making what you need. You can get thicker, stronger parts using exactly the same plastic resin, and all your problems will vanish!

Chat with us more to see how our low pressure process might be the solution you’re seeking!