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Vol. 1, No. 2.........

Newsletter of the Polymorf.networks

March , 2004


New lessons featured at Knowhere

Two new online lessons on structural and mechanical engineering have been added to
the Knowhere section of the Polymorf web site.   The lessons demonstrate how the
structure, or geometry, of space influences the engineering of man-made structures.  This
is a continuation of the theme already presented in the two prior lessons on the symmetry
of polyhedra and the structure of crystals

The structural engineering lesson, entitled Building stability, covers


basic structures such as columns and beams, bridges, buildings,

spaceframes, and towers.  Dozens of models built with Polymorf

are used to demonstrate fundamental engineering concepts such

as stability, forces and reactions, load bearing, bending moment,

moment of inertia, stresses, lattice action, plate action, etc.  The
section on bridges, for example, shows how simple models of classic truss bridges can
be built and load tested to failure to determine their ultimate strength and mode of failure.
The results of the tests are graphed in order to compare the performance of the different
designs relative to the maximum load they carried versus their span, height/span ratio,
and their weight.  In the section on spaceframes, Polymorf models of triangular, square,

and rectangular lattices show how they are all derived from one common structure, the

octet truss.  Since this structure is identical to the FCC crystal lattice presented in the

prior lesson on the structure of crystals, the connection between natural and man-made

systems is convincingly made.  This lesson is indexed at www.pollymorf.net/knowhere.


In Gizmoneering, Polymorf models of simple mechanisms, or gizmos,

show how machines convert and transmit energy to do work.  Basic

structural elements such as hinges, bearings, pivots, hubs, wheels,

swivels, pistons, etc. are combined to create a revolving telescope,

hand held pincers, robots, and fanciful critters. Complex mechanisms


comprised of more than one gizmo illustrate how mechanical systems
  are integrated seamlessly to perform complex tasks.  Basic concepts

presented in the previous lesson on structural engineering such as force displacement

and dissipation, and static equilibrium are related to how machines combine mobile and

immobile features to perform a given function. Indexed at www.polymorf.net/knowhere.


Many of the structures shown in these two engineering lessons can be built with the new

2000 piece Engineering set that has been added to the catalog


Polywood   Another new feature of the site is a collection of cartoons,

short animations, and stereo images called Polywood.   See spiders

catching flies, cats chasing mice, a dog riding a horse, and even an

eagle feeding its young.  Lessons are also presented on how to make

your own stop-action animations and stereo images of your favorite  

Polymorf models.  Its lights, camera, action! at http://www.polymorf.net/polywood.htm


Last but not least, the free clip art gallery has been greatly expanded with dozens of new

animations that you can copy and download for your own personal use.


See previous issues of the 3Doodlings newsletter



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