BALTEK® Structural balsa cores

BALTEK® is the only structural core material made of a natural, renewable resource - balsa wood. The balsa tree (Ochroma pyramidale) is the fastest growing tree in the world: A seedling will grow into a straight-trunked tree with a height of up to 30 m and a diameter of approximately 45 cm in only 5 to 7 years.

Various special features are combined in the balsa tree:

  • Quick growth: ready to harvest after 5 to 7 years
  • Low medium density
  • High insulating properties
  • High weight-specific mechanical properties

Very little energy is required to process natural balsa wood into structural end-grain core material. Mature trees are felled, cut into squared timber or stripped as veneer, and dried in the oven. The balsa wood is then sorted by quality, physical features, and specific density, and glued to form large blocks. These blocks are cut into end-grain sheets and then processed into one of the many available product sizes.

Plantabal S.A. and 3A Composites PNG Ltd, the forest companies of 3A Composites, own and manage several thousand hectares of FSC® certified balsa plantations in Ecuador (FSC-C019065and Papua New Guinea (FSC-C125018). The growing of our own seedlings as well as several local sawmills guarantee sustainable forest management and continuous availability for industrial end customers.

 

 

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Properties

Sandwich structures with balsa result in a particularly lightweight and sturdy end product. As balsa wood is cut perpendicular to the grain direction it has optimum physical properties due to its honeycomb-like cell structure. Our balsa wood is grown on our own plantations in Ecuador; it is not obtained from the deforestation of the rain forest.

BALTEK® - as do all of our core materials - has the following properties:

  • Extremely low specific weight
  • High mechanical rigidity and stiffness
  • Reduced use of raw materials

Depending on processing and in combination with other layers, BALTEK® core material has other interesting properties, which make it suitable for utilization in a variety of applications.

Among these are:

  • High specific stiffness and rigidity
  • High impact resistance
  • Excellent moisture resistance
  • Operating temperature from -212° C to +163° C
  • Ecological, sustainable product, made of 100% plantation wood
  • Excellent sound absorption and thermal insulation
Applications

When used as a sustainable, lightweight core material in various sandwich structures it allows the construction of lightweight yet sturdy composites. Our sandwich components with a BALTEK® balsa wood core are suitable for many areas of application:

  • Marine
  • Renewable energies
  • Rail
  • Aerospace
  • Roads
  • Architecture/construction
Product range

BALTEK® SB - Selected grade structural balsa

BALTEK® SB balsa wood from controlled cultivation; it is cut perpendicular to the grain direction. Balsa is a universal core material due to the excellent styrene and chemical resistance as well as the neutral behavior in terms of temperature fluctuations. Balsa can be processed with all known resin systems and processes and has excellent laminate adhesion properties.

BALTEK® SB is an ideal, sustainable core material made of renewable resources with a very broad range of use.

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BALTEK® SBC - FSC® Certified selected grade structural balsa

BALTEK® SBC is our balsa wood core material from controlled cultivation. FSC® certification ensures that 100% of balsa wood comes from plantations and that all production steps are subject to stringent monitoring (FSC-C100270). This guarantees highest-quality balsa wood and full traceability from the end product back to the seed. BALTEK® SBC is the only FSC®-certified balsa core material. SBC has an extremely high level of rigidity and excellent stiffness to weight ratio. It can be processed with all known resin systems and processes and has excellent laminate adhesion properties. It is furthermore resistant to temperature changes, fire, and chemicals (e.g. styrenes).

BALTEK® SBC is an ideal core material made of renewable resources with a very broad range of use.

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BALTEK® VBC - Balsa wood veneer structural core material

BALTEK® VBC is a structural core material based on balsa wood veneer from 100% FSC® certified plantations (FSC-C100270). Its unique mechanical properties are obtained through the optimum alignment of various veneer layers and the integration of other materials. The material is lightweight and sustainable as a matter of course - as it is for all members of the family of BALTEK® products.

BALTEK® VBC is an ideal, sustainable core material made of renewable resources with a very broad range of use.

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