Force is a push or a pull. Leaves and apples fall to the ground because the force of gravity pulls them. When boys and girls swing, sometimes a friend pushes them to help them get started. This push is a force. When an airplane lands on a runway, the force of gravity pulls it down toward the ground. When you open or close a door, you are exerting a force on the door.

Check out these really fun tutorials from Building Big to get an idea of they types of forces and how they affect different materials.
force tutorial
material tutorial

Now think about your product and how you're redesigning it, think about the forces it is undergoing, are they compression, tension, etc. and what materials work best for those kind of forces. A hint is to think of the strength and the stiffness of the original material, and make sure that you are at least as strong and stiff as that material.

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