# Balsa vs. MDF

Both balsa and MDF are wood-based materials. There are 16 material properties with values for both materials. Properties with values for just one material (1, in this case) are not shown. Please note that the two materials have significantly dissimilar densities. This means that additional care is required when interpreting the data, because some material properties are based on units of mass, while others are based on units of area or volume.

For each property being compared, the top bar is balsa and the bottom bar is MDF.

Metric UnitsUS Customary Units

## Mechanical Properties

Compressive (Crushing) Strength, MPa | 7.0 | |

10 |

Elastic (Young's, Tensile) Modulus, GPa | 3.0 | |

4.0 |

Elongation at Break, % | 1.2 | |

0.5 |

Poisson's Ratio | 0.38 | |

0.25 |

Shear Modulus, GPa | 0.23 | |

2.5 |

Tensile Strength: Ultimate (UTS), MPa | 14 | |

18 |

## Thermal Properties

Specific Heat Capacity, J/kg-K | 1700 | |

1700 |

Thermal Conductivity, W/m-K | 0.1 | |

0.3 |

Thermal Expansion, µm/m-K | 6.5 | |

12 |

## Electrical Properties

Dielectric Strength (Breakdown Potential), kV/mm | 4.9 | |

0.5 |

## Otherwise Unclassified Properties

Density, g/cm^{3} |
0.13 | |

0.75 |

## Common Calculations

Stiffness to Weight: Axial, points | 13 | |

3.0 |

Strength to Weight: Axial, points | 30 | |

6.7 |

Strength to Weight: Bending, points | 99 | |

20 |

Thermal Diffusivity, mm^{2}/s |
0.45 | |

0.24 |

Thermal Shock Resistance, points | 51 | |

27 |