09 August 2008

Things the Olympics broadcast won't tell you

Things we're not hearing about during coverage of Olympic swimming: apparently the construction of the "Water Cube" (the Beijing National Aquatics Center) is based on the Weaire-Phelan sturucture. More specifically, the Weaire-Phelan structure is apparently the best known solution to the problem of partitioning space into cells of equal volume with minimal suface area. The edges of the cells in this structure make up the steel frame of the building; in order to make a more "organic"-looking pattern the pattern was sliced at an oblique angle.

Somehow I missed this in the New York Times on Tuesday. See also the Guardian from 2004 and Science News a few weeks ago.


Aaron said...

Beautiful! I studied out of Weaire's Physics of Foams a bit earlier this summer, so I'm pretty geeked about this building. It's a wonderful case of the convergence of artistic and engineering goals!

I'm amazed at how non-periodic the foam looks in the cross sections that Carfrae used. I wonder if there's a mathematical reason for that?

Anonymous said...

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Alex Flouee
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