How to calculate balsa density
Knowing the density (weight per unit of volume) of your balsa wood is a very important aspect of using it most effectively.
Without knowing the density of balsa you cannot reliably select the correct grade to suit your application.
Fortunately calculating the balsa density is very easy and quick to do.
Metric:
By far the simplest method of density calculation for balsa wood is using metric.
density in kg/m^{3} = weight_{kg} / (length_{m} x width x thickness)
As an example, let's say you have a sheet of balsa, 920mm x 100mm x 6mm and it weighs 56g, we use the above formula
density = 0.056kg / ( 0.92m x 0.1 x 0.006 )
= 101.449kg/m^{3}
To convert from imperial lb/ft^{3} to metric kg/m^{3}, simply use the following formula;
metricdensity = imperialdensity (lb/ft^{3}) x 16.018 (you could just use 16.0)
Imperial:
Using imperial measurements makes things a little bit more difficult because the conversion units aren't factors of 10.
The basic formula is of course the same, though we add in a factor to deal with the differences in units.
density in lb/ft^{3} = (weight_{oz} x 108) / ( length_{in} x width x thickness)
To convert from kg/m^{3} to lb/ft^{3} use the following formula;
density in lb/ft^{3} = density in kg/m^{3} x 0.0624
Using the previous metric example;
imperialdensity = 101.449kg/m^{3} x 0.0624
= 6.6lb/ft^{3}
If all that is still a bit too much to swallow right now, then you can always use the balsa density calculator as provided below.
For more information on balsa and its attributes, visit our page on balsa properties.
