The older I get

the more I find out that what I knew was wrong. Yesterday I came across a post on a forum about reinforcing a hollow wood mast with carbon fiber, so's you can use thinner wood and save weight. Makes perfect sense, eh? But it turns out, according to one of the replies, that it ain't that simple. Suppose you want to add just enough carbon that the carbon tube by itself would take half the stress without failing. You lighten up the wood so it too could take half the stress. What happens? The durn thing breaks. So much for high tech materials. The problem, which I admit I never would have thought of, is that almost 100% of the stress is now carried by the carbon skin. You just spent 30 bucks a yard to turn your wood mast into useless dead weight!!! Since the carbon is overstressed by a factor of two, it breaks. Now 100% of the stress is on the wood, which can only handle half that, so it breaks too.

So these things aren't as simple as they seem.

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