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Old Jul 13, 2014, 10:53 AM
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Anyone ever heard of this?

Hello All,

Whilst visiting an out of town 'home centre' today, looking for things that look useful, I found a plank of stuff that looks like it might be very, very useful.

The stock card said 'polyethelene foam', and the plank was 1800mm long, 30mm thick and 300mm wide. I think it might be properly used for insulation, but whatever it's properly used for, I think it'll make some nice aircraft material. It cost $6 for the plank, which isn't bargain basement, but considering I can probably get at least a single decent plane plus a decent wing out of it, $6 isn't breaking the bank.

The plank weighs maybe 300g, is somewhat rigid, but not styrofoam rigid. My pocket knife wouldn't cut it cleanly, and when I bent it over to fit it in the car, it didn't want to break. Seems to behave very much like EPO, maybe EPO lite?

It's still in the car, I've not done anything with it. I know it'll need spars all over the place to stop it flexing like a rag in the wind, but once formed into a plane, it might well weigh nothing and be difficult to kill.

Has anyone out there seen anything like this before? If so, any suggestions?

My quaint stock of carbon rods and tubes quivers with anticipation,

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Old Jul 13, 2014, 12:09 PM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
South Wales U.K.
Joined Mar 2003
13,048 Posts
Woops!, Re-write later, wrong 'poly'.

I read Polypropylene instead of Polyethylene.

Found a post --

Originally Posted by woodsy View Post
Googled this

Polyethylene foam is similar to polypropylene foam and is made by the DOW Chemical company. As far as I know two grades are available: Ethafoam Nova and Ethafoam Select. They are low-density polyethylene foam products. For more info:
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Last edited by eflightray; Jul 13, 2014 at 12:14 PM.
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Old Jul 13, 2014, 12:34 PM
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Joined Oct 2004
9,575 Posts
Generally polyethylenes are less stiff than polypropylene whether solid or foams. Lower molecular weight and less dense. Foam stiffness depends a lot on cell structure, so you may have some good material for a bash-a-bout foamie. I wouldn't leave it bent up in the car or it will take a set bent. Polyethylene also has a lower heat distortion temp and melt point. Use sharp tools to cut it.
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Old Jul 15, 2014, 06:50 PM
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Joined Oct 2013
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I'll have to experiment a little with it, but it seems that with a skin that's properly adhered to it, that should harden it up enough to cope with minor dings. But when bashed, it'll stay bashed and probably end up more tape and glue than foam.

I did find some technical specs on the stuff, and apparently it's lighter than I guessed, the plank should weigh 170g and it's intended as underfloor insulation, so will support weight so long as it's got a hard skin to spread the load.

And it's also been discontinued, but that doesn't explain why the store had plenty of stock on hand.

Seems to be relatively stiff considering how light it is, but will need spars and such. Thankfully I have a nice source of good carbon profiles that aren't at all expensive. Control surfaces will need to be something else though.

Thanks for the info. Maybe not the best material but worked right, should be quite useful. Cheap enough too considering the bulk.

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