Gorilla Glue to improve structural integrity - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 10-26-2011, 10:44 AM   #1
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Gorilla Glue to improve structural integrity

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Mods to an ARF suggested to cut a large opening through the balsa sheeted wing and adding a rib and sheer webs in order to support a longer carbon wing tube.

Is it possible to support the wing tube just by injecting a mixture of Gorilla Glue and water using a syringe between the ribs? The GG would expand, fill most of the space, without deforming the wing if used sparingly.

I thought this would be the lazy way to do it without weakening the wing when the balsa sheeting was cut.

I hope this isn't too silly an idea.


Not having the experience with building nor much of an idea of structural engineering, I definitely would agree that the idea of just injecting an expanding foam glue would not do it.
The problem originates from over-powering an ARF with power plants beyond what it was intended to handle (e.g., pusher prop with turbine).

Thank you for the responses.

November 4th: I am very reluctant to remove the heat shrink covering and to cut through the balsa sheeting on the wing in order to add another rib and sheer webs; this procedure appears to require some expertise. Since the wings are removable for transport, I might add another wing tube; this might be easier since there is already a hole through parts of the wing and fuse. Alignment may be critical. Perhaps the plane will never see a turbine; EDF or even a brushless motor would be adequate. Another "hanger queen"....

Last edited by tskca; 11-04-2011 at 11:20 AM. Reason: Getting a better understanding of the issues
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Gorilla Glue to improve structural integrity

The problems I see are control of expansion so no deformation occurs and that G/G looks relatively inflexible. If stresses are introduced that exceed its strength then it can crack or powder and no longer contribute anything to your structure.

If you plan to remove the covering another option would be to glue down some C/F tape along the spar/tube axis. I've done that on several craft during build to strengthen the wing and imagine it would work just as well there. If you scrape a trough in the wood just deep enough then once sanded it will not show evidence its there.

The difference was these had one piece wings and the stress could transfer fully along the tape. If you are using a wing tube then I'm guessing the wings come off. In that case you need some form of transfer for longtitudinal stress from the skin to the tube. This occurs normally in each bulkhead or rib the tube is in contact with.

I have the same problem as you with the tail on my Rare Bear currently on the build table. There are reports of tail failures of the built up balsa structure and with the individual stabs inserted onto C/F rods one option was to install longer rods out to another rib line or all the way to the tips. They are not that long and in this instance would not have been horrendously difficult. However, without removing the skins I could not have told how well the structure held up to the modification. In my case the stabs are epoxied to the fuse, so I'm altering the mod to skinning them with glass cloth. In your case this likely would be prohibitively heavy.

When I've had to do heavy mods like this I bit the bullet and removed one of the skins entirely. The key is to fix the wing when installing a new skin to ensure no twist is introduced.
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Old 10-26-2011, 02:24 PM   #3
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Re: Gorilla Glue to improve structural integrity

Ken: I believe I understand what you are asking. However, I can offer no specific advice except to state what I have learned during 30 years of model building and flying. That is: "There are no short cuts!" The lazy way is always the wrong way. Bite the bullet and do it right. Surely you can remove the balza sheeting and replace it without weakening the wing. That's my 2 cents. . . Cheers
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Old 10-26-2011, 07:20 PM   #4
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Re: Gorilla Glue to improve structural integrity

It will certainly add strength, but will be very stiff. If it over-expands, you can use a blade, file or sandpaper to shape it as needed. Can be a very messy experience though! The debris gets everywhere...

I've used expanding foam in high-power rocket fin cans, where the fins go through the airframe to the motor tube. Fill the space between the airframe & motor tube with foam, and the fin material will fail long before the fin breaks free from the rocket.

Expansion will be in the "path of least resistance". I would recommend doing this procedure in small increments. Use a small amount of glue, wait until it stops expanding, do the next bit. If you're careful, you should easily fill the entire area, and have some squeeze-out through the opening.
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