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Week 4 journal

This structure of the above object is quite simple but strong. It uses the characteristics of each material to maximise its strength. The above ‘T’ structure of timber has a give and take relationship for their strength. First of all, they are both against the grain; hence it is already stable and strong. The top layer is narrower and thicker (vertically), which makes it extremely durable to pressure from the top, but very unstable in terms of balance. The bottom layer supports from losing balance, thus increasing its stability. Plywood is ridiculously flexible, light and pathetically weak on a flat horizontal surface. However, it contains an inevitable sideway strength, but cannot stand by itself due to stability reasons. Consequently, the vertical plywoods can be placed parallel to the top layer and perpendicular to the bottom layer. This adds more strength as well as symmetrical balance on each side. The flat plywood at the very top wraps this whole structure up. It holds the plywood and timber together, while also providing extra cushion at the top to prevent the weight crashing directly on timber, which would result cracking from physical friction instead of snapping by force.

Despite the simple appearance of this structure, it was successful in maximising the strength. Thin, long piece of wood could surprisingly hold up to about 240kg before it snapped in the middle. During the process of demolishing the structure, it was noticeable that the vertical plywoods spread out, which didn’t contribute too much in support. One error for building this structure was that bullet head nails were used instead of flat head nails. Bullet head nails are too thin it cannot hold the timber properly, resulting it to crack apart. In contrast, flat head nails stops on the surface and holds the wood tight. Many people came up with good looking and interesting structure, but not strong enough. I recall the famous concept of BAUHAUS: “less is more”.

There are other ways of using the characteristics of plywood. Instead of forcing this weak material to be strong, using its flexibility to add tension to the structure can hold everything together. However, the problem with this structure is that there are lacking support on either end, which results the legs being pushed apart.

Journal_Han: W4