In the previous last issue of Popular Science, someone asked if a spaceship could be built of wood. Daniel, the resident expert answered with the boat in mind built of heavy timber and old methods. I sent him the following note. No response at all.
I saw your article about if it is possible to build a spaceship out of wood in the June 14 issue. It didn’t sound very promising.
You were however only looking at old paradigm wood boats.
In my design office, we design catamarans out of plywood, but way different. www.multihulldesigns.com
We use wood as an engineering material. It is always encapsulated with epoxy, and often used in conjunction with carbon fiber. Carbon fiber and plywood have very similar stretch to failure rates so work well together.
All joints are done with both epoxy and fiberglass bonds. Out of plane loads like pressure, are resisted with core materials between the plywood faces.
The epoxy coating goes everywhere so there is no water evaporation. The epoxy is self-extinguishing as we have found in tests for the USCG.
I say that used as an engineering material, plywood could be used to build a credible spaceship. In fact I am building one, albeit it will never move. it is an R-3 permitted dwelling. It is done using entirely modern epoxy boatbuilding methods; like we do on the catamarans.
See http://lunarlanderdwelling.tumblr.com/ and www.themarsoutpost.com