AskDefine | Define balsa

Dictionary Definition

balsa

Noun

1 strong lightweight wood of the balsa tree used especially for floats [syn: balsa wood]
2 forest tree of lowland Central America having a strong very light wood; used for making floats and rafts and in crafts [syn: Ochroma lagopus]

User Contributed Dictionary

English

Etymology

From barco.

Pronunciation

IPA: /ˈbɑlsə/

Noun

  1. A large tree, Ochroma lagopus, native to tropical America, with wood that is very light in weight.
  2. The wood of this tree.
  3. A raft or float, used principally on the Pacific coast of South America.

Translations

a tree
  • Hebrew: עץ [ets]
  • Finnish: balsa
wood
  • Hebrew: עץ [ets]
  • Finnish: balsa
a raft or float
Hebrew: רפסודה [rafsoda]

Extensive Definition

Balsa (Ochroma pyramidale, synonym O. lagopus) is a large, fast-growing tree that can grow up to 30m (100ft) tall, native to tropical South America north to southern Mexico. It is evergreen, or dry-season deciduous if the dry season is long, with large (30–50 cm, 12-20 in) weakly palmately lobed leaves. The name balsa derives from Spanish for a raft.
The timber is very soft and light with a coarse open grain. The density of dry balsa wood ranges from 100–200 kg/m³ (6.24-12.49 lb/ft³), with a typical density of about 140 kg/m³ (8.74 lb/ft³) (about one third the density of other kinds of hard wood). This makes it a very popular material for model building and buoyancy materials (lifebelts, etc.), and was famously used by Thor Heyerdahl in his raft Kon-Tiki. It is also a very popular material to use when making wooden crankbaits for fishing, as it is low density but high in strength. Balsa wood is used to make very light, stiff structures in model bridge tests and for the construction of light wooden aeroplanes, most famously the World War II de Havilland Mosquito. It is also used in the floorpan of the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 sandwiched between two sheets of carbon fibre. In table tennis blades, a balsa layer is typically sandwiched between two pieces of thin plywood.Balsa wood is also used for making high-quality balsa surfboards.
Despite being very soft, balsa is classified as a hardwood, the softest commercial hardwood. Today balsa is the most favoured Raw material for wind rotor blade designers. Balsa wood is used as core material in composites especially wind energy rotor blades for getting the required strength on leading edge of rotor blade. But availability of balsa is a critical issue today as plantation is limited to only North American region.

See also

References

balsa in Danish: Balsatræ
balsa in German: Balsabaum
balsa in Spanish: Balsa (árbol)
balsa in French: Balsa (arbre)
balsa in Hebrew: בלזה
balsa in Japanese: バルサ
balsa in Polish: Ogorzałka wełnista
balsa in Portuguese: Balsa (madeira)
balsa in Russian: Бальза (дерево)
balsa in Slovenian: Balza
balsa in Finnish: Balsapuu
balsa in Swedish: Balsa
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