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 materials pros and cons?

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People Skills : 2548
Registration date : 2012-02-03
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PostSubject: materials pros and cons?   Fri Feb 03, 2012 6:58 pm

so this is my first year in robotics, and I wanted to see your thoughts on the different types of materials used between weapons, body, and armor.. For the most part, the only metals I'm familiar with are steel, aluminum, titanium, and this UHMW plastic, though I don't know much about the pros and cons of them all... Any particular thoughts?
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PostSubject: Re: materials pros and cons?   Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:35 pm


I'm kinda new but I do know some stuff about this.

It really depends on what weight class you are going into.

Also here is a link to an argument I had about titanium vs aluminum on a beetleweight.

Titanium VS Aluminum
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PostSubject: Re: materials pros and cons?   Sun Feb 05, 2012 10:18 am

I'll state the obvious (and oversimplified):

In general, steel is the strongest, fairly cheap, but also the heaviest. Titanium is pretty close to the same strength, but about 1/2 the weight (it costs the most), Aluminum is pretty standard because its pretty strong (but no match for steel or Ti), quite cheap, and comparatively lightweight. UHMW (and Delrin, and all other 'plastic'), is weak, exceptionally light, and probably the cheapest. Stronger materials are harder to machine.

Overall it's more complicated than this (different grades and treatments make big differences), but this is a good general description.

Your weightclass plays a really important role in material selection--as weight (inertia) goes up, the potential for damage increases, so you need stronger materials.

Internals can be weaker than frame and frame can be weaker than armor.

That's the 'intro' version of materials.
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PostSubject: Re: materials pros and cons?   Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:28 pm

The best advice that could probable be given here is to just read some of the descriptions on McMaster. I've learned a great deal about different alloys of steels and aluminums just from checking out the info they provide



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PostSubject: Re: materials pros and cons?   Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:47 pm

I could have answered this question with ease.
I tried to tell you early on, but you didn't care when I tried to get you good alloys of aluminum.
:let down face:

Riobotz also answers most questions of this sort.
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PostSubject: Re: materials pros and cons?   Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:58 am

Riobotz is excellent. But for a condensed version...

There are a few pieces of information you need to consider for a material:
Hardness: How much a material resists being dented/penetrated by a pointed object (ex: glass is harder than rubber).
Toughness: The ability of a material to absorb energy without breaking (ex: epoxy is tougher than superglue).

Certain types of steel have the best balance of toughness and hardness, but are heavier than other materials (such as titanium, which is a close second to steel in terms of toughness but not hardness). These materials make excellent armor plate and structural support for areas which will experience large forces and impacts with hardened materials.

Aluminum is very light, and some grades are as tough and as strong as mild steel. They're usually excellent for structural frames, and also as armor. However, aluminum armor will wear out faster than steel armor because it will more readily fracture and shear away in chunks when hit. This is sometimes desirable though, since a steel armor plate may provide a better "grip" for a weapon, resulting in the robot being thrown around the arena more.

Here's a good website for comparing materials:

Georgia Institute of Technology - Mechanical Engineering
RoboJackets Battlebots Team - Weapons Design Team Leader 09-10
President of RE Robotics 2005-2007
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