[quote]Originally posted by epic:
|Originally posted by aschir01:
I just don'e believe that wood can really be the BEST material to make skis. Why not aircraft, boats and cars too? Or tennis rackets, or snowshoes, etc....
Not that wood is definitively the best material, but there are a lot of reasons it's a good one for this application. In the examples you cited the first priority is strength to weight, the second is stiffness to weight (though rackets are the other way around). Few of them are designed to flex a significant amount (though they ARE designed to flex), and except the racket none of them are "tuned" to deal with higher-frequencies. Weight is not a significant issue for most downhill skis, and lighter is not always better...
Now when you think of other items that need to be well-tuned, you'll see wood is commonly used. Musical instruments come to mind. Bows (as in "bow and arrow") are going composite, but some people really prefer wood.
Usually if something is designed to flex, and you want to tune it for certain characteristics, you use a spring in combo with a damper. Can't do that with a ski. So people have tried to achieve the same effect with electronic devices, layering plastics and rubbers into the ski, and using foams and wood. Turns out wood is a great material to dampen high-freq vibrations, provide a consistent spring rate (after break-in), and resist compression on impact. It's also easy to glue layers to, or screw edges into. It's downside is a lack of torsional stiffness relative to longitudinal stiffness, which is why you see it augmented with fiberglass or carbon fiber braids.
So it's not perfect, and every material has its advantages, but wood happens to be very well-suited to making skis.