COPYING and TRACING -Issues of Design 39

Post 753 -by Gautam Shah


9 An anonymous draftsman combined Four figures (copying-tracing) in a single composition

Copying is a natural phenomenon, where we pick up some impressions of sensorial nature, such as visual, aural, smell, taste, touch etc. Copying may be an instinctive act. It occurs as some form of behavioural expression. When a child begins to understand that certain actions, responses, sounds from the environment, if emulated, triggers some actions. It becomes a language of action-reaction.

2 Emulating expression of a collegue Wikipedia Photo Credit C. Todd Lopez

The sensorial effects have two fundamental scales, temporal and spatial. For example, Hearing is structured with beats (marking-representing the passage of time) defining the temporal scale. Similarly Seeing is structured with traces, which help to understand the spatial scale. Artists, Crafts-persons and Designers cannot survive without copying and tracing. In both the cases, the sequence of origination and affectations, however, often gets disarrayed.

3 A young boy mirrors the gesture of his grandmother Matera, Italy Still unaware of despair

We perceive many things and wish to remember them. The retained image can only copy the effects close to the original. To retain a visual impression, it should carry some potential for recollection and production. Here one, needs transfer protocol. Same way, we can remember smells, tastes and tactile feelings. These are even more difficult to structure and retain, so we associate such experiences with their conditions of origin or encounters and with reference to time, space, and the environment.

1 Art Painting Copying for learning

There are broadly two ways of copying. These are either contagious or noncontagious. The former, is used for objects that are touchable or accessible, whereas the later, is used for very large or small things.

10 Jin Jaswadi, wayang kulit figure from the epos Serat Menak Sasak Wikipedia image by Antareja

Contagious copying was made from flatter forms like shallow carvings, metals engravings, fabric designs, etc. The method only copied the selective forms, from the images like the pattern, structure, etc. Contagious copies are exact scaled replicas. These are sometimes formed by bridging randomly marked (real or imaginary) points to generate a skeleton frame.

4 The camera obscura principle as illustrated in James Ayscough's A short account of the eye and nature of vision (1755 fourth edition) Wikipedia Image by James Ayscough

5 Sheiner Viewing Sunspots 1625 Illustration from Rosa Ursina by Christoph Scheiner

Noncontagious formations occur from what we retain as remembrances (from an exclusive observation or accumulation of multiple experiences over period). These are collections of points or linear strokes, retained over graph, grid or reference motifs. Non contagious images are drawn-images that are often impressionistic, and in the form of facsimile or surrogate forms.

6 View of Delft is one of the paintings by Johannes Vermeer where a Camera Obscura was used.

In visual arts, copying the works of the masters has been a standard way for students to learn to paint or sculpt. Copying of three-dimensional works (models) in easy-to-use materials like clay or wax was a primary method. Such models or 3D renderings (perspectives) were also used for scaling, on site-positioning, visual confirmation, and for duplication. Such images were used for visual confirmation (presentations) of the donors or sponsors for the proposed buildings, sculptures, artefacts, murals or stained glass compositions.

11 Giorgio Vasari Last supper Thanks giving celebration sketch (used for the main painting) 1546 Staaliche Graphisce Sammlung Munich Germany

Forms copied through contagious and noncontagious routes are distinctly different. Contagious duplication is more elaborate but accurate, Noncontagious imaging matures after multiple attempts. It though, allows upward or downward scaling. A noncontagious image is done instantly, or if, remembered, must be immediately transferred to some media, sketch, model or narrative. There is some inevitable generative deterioration of details, interference of ‘noise’ and personal interpretation. But, when noncontagious images are collated through several individual experiences, at different occasions and locations, a reasonably acceptable image emerges. The process of improvisation must occur continuously to prevent deterioration or ‘cultural’ improvisations, which accumulates with each generation.

12 Camera Lucida in use for drawing small figurine

8 Part of James Watt's sculpture copying machine

Non contagious deduction through the impressionistic mode also result into doodles. Doodles are too personal and frugal, so are meaningful to the authors. Others have to wait till something concrete emerges out of it, such as a model, set, building, art composition, a strategy or film. Doodles can provide the cues about thinking of the author. On a performance stage the cues are discreet indications or prompts for reminders like, specific sounds, beat or mime acts and gestural expressions.

7 Giovanni Canaletto (1697-1768) who used Camera Obscura for many drawings of Venice

Copying was once done through pin hole boxes and camera obscura. Unlike sketching, the early image capturing devices substantially truthfully captured the colour and texture, shades and shadows. Such images were only reversed (upside down) views, smaller in scale, but needed some storage system. For Scenes with depth (perspectives) were renditions over the graticulate frame. It was a square marked frame to facilitate the proportionate enlargement or reduction of the image. Portrait drawings were prepared from the silhouette as captured on the glass board (19th C). With digital imaging, the copying is ‘nearly’ scalable. Upward-downward conversions are carried out with the aid of the tracing instrument called the pantograph. With each ‘new generation of technologies’, the older copies seem ‘out of date’. Frequently copying from the copies, the deterioration accumulates with each process.

31 Roman building Imagination Chicago Museum Prints and Drawings Giovanni Battista

Teachers teach by writing on the board, speaking up and by actions (gestural-postural), asking students to take a note of it. The note-taking, is copying the lesson. Dance teachers ask students to follow a regimen of steps accompanied with beats. The dance steps and the sound of beats, ultimately get transferred to production with music and positions on the performance stage. These are copying processes in parts that ultimately form complex image.

32 A Narrative is Tracing An Indian artist is painting in sign language, on buckskin, the story of a battle with American soldier

Squaring up, is a simple technique of dividing an image into the grid, which allows easy and accurate copying (at the same, reduced or enlarged scale) of the image. The same method was used to transfer small size sketches onto canvas or wall murals. To perceive a visual image, lines and grids, have been used for ages. Such implants, as a superlative pattern establish mutual relationships and distance. Early images of constellations, territorial forms, caricatures, facial expressions, etc. are such captures. Squaring for transfer technique did not damage to the original sketch.

27 The Virgin and Child with Saints by Vasari Square grid

24 Giorgio Vasari grand duke cosimo de medici reviving the city of volterra sketch Squared in lack chalk for scaled reproduction

Tracing has a basic purpose of duplicating and imprinting an image. Tracing is a tool for reproduction of an expression. The image needs to be ready on some media (opaque, transparent or translucent). The image gets transferred (transfer print). During tracing, one has a choice to manipulate the image. It is a quick rendition that carries only the essential or the sketchy impression, and so minimal. The reproduction is also a manner of interpretation and improvisation.

25 Full sized sketch Vasari

25 Sketches like these are sold or rented as replica cartoons to other artists

Tracing was used for copying drawings, signatures, writings and maps, and often for reproducing them. It was a tedious and inaccurate way of copying. Only larger details could be accurately traced. During tracing, the craft masters often improvised few of the details.

22 Objetification by image projection

Tracings have limitations, as can be delivered mostly in visual or aural transference. In tactile tracing visually impaired persons sense the surface through their hand, feet or walking stick. This, of course, is reinforced by the spatial acoustics. Smell traces can lure or scare (smell of tiger urine) the animals.

21 Sighting the object for scaled sketching

14 Silhouette drawing over a transluscent screen

The copied images have a characteristic axial setting and so changing the original is not easy, but traced imprints make it possible. Copied images are traced by maintaining the original, varying the axial setting, purpose, in part or whole or in repeated formats. The tracing, if on transparent or translucent media also allow manipulation through mirroring in horizontal, vertical or inclined directions.

16 Albrecht Durer, Female Objectification, Drawing a Woman Through a Perspectival Frame 1525

Tracing retains something of the original characteristics like scale, proportions, etc. But, may intentionally miss out many things like, finer details, colour and texture. Tracing is a selective follow-up of the image. It picks up important switches in any configuration, like ends, edges, junctions, angles or cross overs of lines-plane and marked interchanges in the contours. Tracing may select specific colour zones and create colour separated versions (multi coloured printing overlays). Tracings, if part of a larger composition, are marked with indicators to establish the continuity and orientation connections.

32 A Narrative is Tracing An Indian artist is painting in sign language, on buckskin, the story of a battle with American soldier

17 Stereographic Image of a floating gallery J. P. Doremus. 1872.

18 Stereographic Image

Tracing requires running a pencil, stylus, pointer or pricking wheel (a pouncing wheel is called a tracing wheel) over the lines or dots of the image. Pouncing has been a common technique for centuries for oil paintings, engravings, murals etc. Tracing is by impact impression or pricking holes in the media. A powder such as chalk, graphite or pastel is forced through the holes, to leave an outline on the working surface below. Tracing images over the fresh lime Plaster for Fresco painting of very large mural surfaces, was fairly common. The image outlines were macro zones filled with colours by apprentices and details overdrawn by the master painter. Tracing as a shadow or silhouette capturing, were done for portrait drawing. Similarly, star constellations were remembered by endowing a superfluous image.

13 3D scanning of the skeleton of the fin whale female Lenora in the Natural History Museum of Slovenia SWikipedia Image by User TadejM

23 Reverse Engineering A mould insert that was captured using a 3D scanner and is now available as a CAD model for further adjustments Wikipedia Image by SCAN IT 3D

Tracing is nominally used to copy an image for imprinting it, at some other place in a different reference, in original or varied axial settings, purposes, part or whole and repeats. In case of sculptures, copies have often been made using devices such as the pointing machine, the pantograph or 3D cameras or a computer guided router systems that can scan to generate a model through 3D printing.

15 A pantograph milling machine, with a parallelogram the tracer stylus (with roller tip), machines were especially important before CNC became ubiquitous W im

A scrivener or scribe (often called a copy master) was a person, who could read, write letters to court and compose legal documents. These people often translated and also improvised the content to please their masters.

30 Orthodox Jewish scribe writing the Torah on parchment

A mimeograph machine (often abbreviated to mimeo, or a stencil duplicator) was a low-cost duplicating machine that works by forcing ink through a stencil onto paper. Mimeographs, along with spirit duplicators and hectographs, were common technologies for printing small quantities of documents. From 1960s, the photocopying gradually displaced all duplicating machines and technologies.

19 Gestetner Rotary stencil Cyclostyle London, around 1920, Wikipedia Image by Dr. Bernd Gross

Cartoons are full scale or part size sketches made on metal, parchment, fabric or paper. These were used to transfer an entire image, or parts of it for multiple duplication. These were pricked with pin-holes for imprinting a copy for mural fresco, wood boards or canvas. The Cartoons (from the Italian word for a large sheet of medium material), were also test replicas for checking on-site suitability, composition format, details of figures and other embellishments. Cartoons (since 1500s) were used for approval of donors.

26 These faces serve as place making sketches, where the faces may get replaced by pictures of sponsors, donors, etc.

The cartoons had restrictions, as it was not possible to create as large as the intended artwork, so select important elements such as body postures, faces, dresses, architectonic elements, decorative features and motifs for embellishments, etc. were prepared. These encouraged rearrangement, repositioning, or mirroring of the content. Cartoons also allowed placing of the figures on plain and curved surfaces (like ceilings). But with cartoons it was not possible to enlarge or reduce the scale. Cartoons did not offer the colour shade scheme (unless the original artist has indicated by naming or patch). Usually the dress, ornament, skin colour and illumination-shading were decided later on.

20 Cartoons --Pin Holes -pricks for copying the image from a parchment --all figures and other details may be copied directly, manipulated separately in different context and by different artists

The cartoon mediums (parchment, paper, silk and other translucent fabrics) were fairly fragile, deformed through stretching and frequent pin hole punctures, so had to be carefully maintained. The Cartoons were precious possessions of the artist, and were well secured to prevent misuse or thefts. But many such pieces, after the execution of the painting, were rented or sold off to others for reuse at other sites. Cartoons were called Khaka (Urdu). Disney studio, in the pre computer age used a set of cartoons for facial features and backgrounds. Cartoons could be repeated at different positions within a composition, on curved surfaces, or inclined surfaces such as over the arches and ceilings.

28 FAÇADE 2015 on September 5th, 2015 (Projection Mapping) Wikipedia Image by GoToVan from Vancouver, Canada

32 Tracing Two repetitions of a walking sequence of an individual recorded using a motion capture system Wikipedia image by Lars Lau Raket

A trail is a series of marks left by a person, animal, or any thing in action. Many of the GPS systems trace trails of movements (through multiple satellite images or recognition by multiple mobile towers). Trails form an image or reflection by combining a series of impressions or recognise a sensible geometric pattern out of random data. Animals trace smell or heat as a trail. A meander, derives from ‘turning path of the River Maeander, in Asia Minor’ or ‘the meander is the figure of a labyrinth in linear form’. Scrolling is design structured over spirals, rolling incomplete circle motifs, but incorporating copied images. Terms such as, the interlacing or arabesque, are used for such linear use of repeated images. Computer Mouse allows trailing and selection.

29 Tracing with laser engraved sandstone



Post-752 -by Gautam Shah
The three masters, Architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, Le Corbusier and Mies Van der Rohe of the Modern Age, each had a different approach to Architecture of Window Design. In earlier age Andrea Palladio also designed a classical form of opening system. A comparative evaluation of modern day masters treatment of opening-system is discussed here.
An earlier post on LE CORBUSIER and ILLUMINATION, published here >

FLW by 1893 was an independent architect, and began to design buildings with strong inclination to Queen Anne style. But soon enough he began to break away from the Victorian inspiration to a rational style. He devised own Prairie style houses.

Queen Anne Style

Prairie style of Houses by FLLW

The rectilinear window design was to set a varied direction for the next 25 years. Wright had once said ‘beautiful buildings I could build, if only it were unnecessary to cut holes in them.’ This was exemplified in the Prairie house windows. Windows were no longer punctures in the wall or an element of the wall, but rather began to be entities on their own.

8 Exterior_FLW_at_Crystal_Bridges_Photo_credit_Nancy_Nolan_Photography

He created a visual interest under the darkened space below the deep overhangs. There was little reflective gloss over the exterior glass surface, as covered by the shadows of elongated eaves. He also began to open up the interior spaces with clear glass doors and windows as in Prairie houses.
Wright began to negotiate corners with windows to break the box like Victorian architecture of the age. The interiors became one end-less flow of interconnected spaces.

21 Chicago Robie house FLLW interconnected free flow interiors 1908-1910 image by 21 Chicago Robie house FLLW interconnected free flow interiors 1908-1910 Wikipedia Image by Sailko

4 Deep overhangs 5960142855_23f2b74cfa_c

He never accepted the then current –‘poetry-crushing a guillotine’ double hand sash window, but used the long casement shutters, stretching as a single panel, uninterrupted by any mid bars, from lintel to sill level.

19 Frank Lloyd Wright Home and StudioTeemu008 from Palatine, Illinois

According to Wright the ‘long casement shuttersbrought the outside in more effectively than the double-hung sash’. He preferred long line of casement shutters as a single panel like a glazed wall. The open expanse of the casement shutters, its glass and the light from the back face, also, became the medium for illuminating the stained glass patterns.

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7 Chicago,_robie_house_di_frank_lloyd_wright,_1908-1910,_salone_al_primo_piano,_08_vetrata_originale_1

After a European tour that exposed him to the Modernist Movements of the time, Wright depended on straight parallel lines and repeated use of small squares as pattern.

19 Window from the Darwin D. Martin House, Buffalo Wikipedia image by Sailko

Wright’s glass designs in an earlier phase were influenced by William Morris and Louis H. Sullivan. He, instead of the opalescent picturesque effect offered by commercial glass designers like Tiffany and John La Farge, relied more on clear glass, abstract geometric patterns and discreet colouring to create what he called ‘light screens’, evoking the Japanese Shoji screens.

17 Wood masking over the glass Frank Lloyd Wrights Pope-Leighey House Cliff from Arlington, Virginia, USA

9 Glass masking with pattern 48937462216_f40e2b5b7f_c

In the later part of 1920’s, Wright also began to use wood muntins along with colourless frosting as tools for patterning. With the Usonian house in the 1940’s, the window patterns were created by perforating plywood panels and sandwiching the plate of glass between them.

10 Frank_Lloyd_Wright_Studio_window_DSCN9806

The extensive glass surfaces of the stretched casement windows were always occupied by straight lines patterns, through restrained and transparent stained-glass colouring, reminiscent of Japanese Shoji screens. In the later phase he began to use wood mid-members and opalescent frosting for pattern making.

3 Horizontl Emphasis in openings Unitarian Meeting House, Madison, Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright,

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Glass is recognized as having two distinctly different faces. Iridescent on the outside face due to reflections, and a ‘water-white’ flawlessly clear and non glossy-surface on the interior face.

22 Robie House Window Wall Wikipedia Image Sailko

This tradition of experimentation with windows and other forms of openings continued till the Johnson Wax building. Not only the windows and openings, along with the sources of natural illumination were restated. Same innovations were continued in formatting the interior spaces. In Johnson wax building, Wright wanted to create an internal building, without any worthwhile exterior view. The glass tubes in Johnson building negotiated curves, which would not have been possible through flat glass panes. It was a highly unique glazing approach, though not efficient in actual working. The glass tubes in replaced the stiff flat glass panels, but turned frosted or translucent. The natural sources of illumination in the interior space were more attuned with the form of architectural elements.

16 Frank_Lloyd_Wrights_Pope-Leighey_House_(3378314458)


Wright migrated to Arizona each winter for health reasons, to escape the harsh Wisconsin winters. In 1937 Wright began to establish a place in the desert that integrated the terrain, climate and the users. He continuously improvised the entity. Wright used translucent canvas to act as a roof (later replaced by plastic because of the intense wear from the Arizona sun). In the south side rooms the walls did not reach the roof, but stopped at a lower level, though covered by long overhang as the sun-shade and light reflector.

12 Talesen West

14 Taliesen-Drafting-Studio

15 TWlivingroom

FLW used the deep shadows to eliminate the exterior iridescence and added colour staining and patterning to break the transparency. Corbusier used the opaque iridescence of the exterior surface to juxtapose the exterior masonry or cement surfaces. Mies, on the other hand, used the exterior mirror like gloss to reflect the changes occurring in the surroundings concurrently juxtaposing the interiors. This helped to reduce the massiveness of the built-form.

20 Springfield IL Front Entrance, Dana-Thomas House, Old Aristocracy Hill FLLW Flickr 4361033655


SOLAR ENERGY -Series Climate and Comfort 2 of12

Post-750 -by Gautam Shah


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The Sun is an extremely powerful energy source, as a result of the nuclear fusion reactions. Some of this (a small fraction) is transmitted to the Earth through the space, as electromagnetic radiation. The intensity of solar radiation at the Earth’s surface is actually quite low, because the Earth’s atmosphere and its clouds absorb or scatter as much as half of all the incoming sunlight. The strength of solar radiation at the outer edge of the Earth’s atmosphere (the solar constant), is 1.37 kW per sq.m. The intensity of energy actually available at the Earth’s surface is less than the solar constant, because of absorption and scattering of radiant energy. The process Climate starts with the arrival of radiant energy (radiation) from the Sun, near our planet.

3 egyptian-1823488_960_720

Energy enters into the precinct of Earth from many sources and in different forms. Earth receives electromagnetic energy from other bodies in space and it also experiences gravitational energy associated with their masses. However, the most important is the Solar energy. Earth receives only 0.002 % of the total radiation emitted by the sun and yet it provides the main energy input for the Earth system. The solar radiation from Sun consists of, on average 7% ultraviolet (short wavelengths), 50% visible wave bands and 43% infrared (long wavelengths) radiation. Almost all of the absorbed energy is matched by energy emitted back into space, forming a Balance. Some residual energy can lead to global warming. This has in past one century, increased, from 0.6 watts/sq mt to 0.79.

8 World Map of Global Horizontal Irradiation, Wikipedia Image by SolarGIS © 2013 GeoModel Solar

During its passage through the space, the solar radiation loses little energy. But, on entering the atmosphere, it encounters molecules of gases, liquids and solids. Ozone and water vapour are major absorbers of radiation, but affect specific parts of the solar spectrum. Ozone absorbs ultraviolet radiation, having a profound effect on the development of life. Water vapour absorbs an infrared sector. Gases and suspended matter disperse the incident solar radiation, into multi-directional radiation, some of which passes back to the space. In the visible spectrum the blue light is scattered to a greater extent than other wave lengths, resulting in predominantly blue sky. Scattering by suspended materials is termed as diffused selection. The amount of scattering that takes place depends on the size of the particles, particle density in the air and the distance radiation travels in the atmospheric layer containing the particles. Sahara dust storms can reduce the solar radiation transmission by 30% and causing a fall of 6.0 C.

10 image shows a map of earth with various color-coded regions illustrating the average amount of exposure to direct sunlight Wikipedia Image by xiloetekllc

Atmosphere absorbs approximately 17 units out of the total 100 units of the solar radiation. This small component contributes to an increase in the internal energy store of the atmosphere. Approximately 29 units are lost to the space by reflection, of which 6 units are lost by scattering and 23 units are lost by cloud reflection. 54 units are transmitted to the Earth’s surface of which 36 units arrive as direct radiation and 18 units by diffuse radiation through the scattering.

11 Image showing how energy enters the atmosphere from space and the earth and is absorbed or reflected from the greenhouse gas layer.

On average, the Earth receives 340.4 watts /square meter. All sunshine falls on the daytime side, and the numbers are much higher at local noon. Of this 340.4 watts per square meter: 99.9 watts are reflected back into space by clouds, dust, snow and the Earth’s surface. The remaining 240.5 watts are absorbed (about a quarter by the atmosphere and the rest by the surface of the Earth). Earth’s surface gets direct sunshine that is only, half of what the warmed atmosphere sends. But together (energy from sun and from the atmosphere) add up to 504 watts/sq mt. This radiation is transformed into thermal energy within the Earth system.

4 Temple relief of Akhenaten from East Karnak, 18th Dynasty Wikipedia Image by Einsamer Schütze

7 Munae Throne back depictung the Sun God Guatemala, Late Classic period (ca 750 CE). Wikipedia Image by Ymblanter

Solar radiation interacts with the atmosphere. Some energy is absorbed, re-radiated and reflected while some is transmitted to the surface of the Earth. The radiation that penetrates the surface and is absorbed and heats up the surface, evaporate the water, melt the snow, generates winds, and causes a variety of chemical reactions. Natural collection of solar energy occurs in the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and plant life. Approximately 30% of the solar energy reaching the outer edge of the atmosphere is consumed in the hydrological cycle, which produces rainfall and the potential energy of water in mountain streams and rivers.

5 Surya the Hindu sun god Asian Art Museum San Francisco Wikipedia Image by Ms Sarah Welch

6 Sun god inside Karni Mata Temple Bikaner Rajasthan India Wikipedia Image by Schwiki

The Solar energy received on Earth varies from location to location, due to, the solar flares and solar spots, relative position and so the distance of the Earth on the elliptical orbit around the Sun. The Earth receives slightly more radiation in January than in July (+ or -3.4%). Solar radiation received on Earth depends on the angle of an incidence of solar rays, which is determined by the tilt of the Earth’s axis with respect to its orbital plane or the angle of latitude. Regions beyond 23 N and 23 S, are exposed to Sun only for a part of the `Season’, due to the tilt of the Earth’s axis of rotation. The amount of solar energy that can be collected also depends on the orientation of the collecting object.

15 Variability of Solar Energy Wikipedia Image by CharlesMJames

The upper surface of clouds are good reflector of the solar radiation. The amount of reflection depends on the cloud cover, type and thickness. A dense cloud may reflect 50% where as a heavy storm cloud may reflect 90% of the radiation. If there is persistent cloud cover, as exists in some equatorial regions, much of the incident solar radiation is scattered back to space and very little is absorbed by the Earth’s surface. Water surfaces have low reflectivity (4-10%) and are the most efficient absorbers. Snow surfaces, on the other hand, have high reflectivity (40-80 percent) and so are the poorest absorbers. High-altitude desert regions consistently absorb higher than average amounts of solar radiation because of the reduced effect of the atmosphere above them.

13 View of a 'gradient board' measuring the vertical temperature gradient Image byThibaut Barreyre Under the sea, in the deep European Geosciences Union

Oceans like the atmosphere, play a very important role in redistribution of heat energy. Oceans in latitudes greater than 30 (N or S) gain energy, while oceans in other latitudes lose energy. Water absorbs a substantial amount of such energy and stores it for many different time limits, couples of moments to several thousand years. The oceans also represent a form of natural collection of solar energy. As a result of the absorption of solar energy in the ocean and ocean currents, temperature gradients occur in the ocean.

14 Global variations in _temperature over thae ages Wikipedia image by Ed Hawkins

Earth’s body is a very poor conductor of heat, therefore, surface energy influx does not significantly affect the interior. Daily variation seldom exceeds 1 C at a depth of 1 m, and seasonal temperature variations rarely affect depths below 30 m. Waters at a temperature of 4 C increases its mass, and being lighter, the cold water and ice float at the top. Even in arctic conditions, water rarely turns into ice below 2.4 mts depth. A cold current flows out toward a warmer region, either the ocean bottom or a tropical area.

18 Solar Resource Map Wikipedia Image SolarGIS © 2011 GeoModel Solar s.r.o.

Energy equal to what is received from Sun is transferred back to the space as radiation. Over a period of time a delicate balance is achieved. When such a balance is disturbed, ice ages or green house type of effect set in. Minor variations in radiation inputs on day to day, season to season or year to year basis provides a small but very important change in the climate. When such small variations persist over a long period of time, they cause vast climatic and related changes.

19 Annual CO2 emissions by region Wikipedia image by Our World in Data

The radiation, as reflected and generated by the Earth, are absorbed by the atmosphere, as an insulating blanket (the green house effect). Without this insulation the loss of energy to the outer space would be substantial and the temperatures on Earth would be lower by 30 C at night time. Earth also receives energy from its core as geo thermal heat flow, but the quantity is very small compared to the energy received from the space. The radiation from the Earth’s surface is infrared or long wave type. The surface of the Earth is an imperfect emitter and absorber of radiation. Ocean surfaces have an emission between 0.92 and 0.96, while land surfaces have lower than 0.90.

16 Global energy potential. comparing renewable and non-renewable energy sources by their potential Wikipedia Image by Delphi234

Energy balance is a global phenomenon, but regional climates occur due to different levels of solar input on various locations of the Earth. In Northern zone countries, due to high reflection from snow and ice, radiation absorption is of low level. Whereas on an equator region, if the sky is cloud covered, considerable reflection (re-radiation) occurs. The tropical areas get cooled as they export energy to mid and high latitude regions, which thus gain energy and are warmed. The transport between latitudes is accomplished by horizontal energy transfers using both the atmospheric (air -winds) and oceanic (sea water currents) circulation.

17 Various Types of Green Cover Image

Plants and other vegetation convert a substantial amount of solar energy into food through photosynthesis. The fossils of such vegetation also provide energy at another time and space.
The potential for solar energy is enormous. Each day, the Earth, receives from sun energy, equal to about 200,000 times the total world electrical-generating capacity. Even though solar energy itself is free, the high cost of its collection, conversion, and storage has limited its exploitation. Even in sunny parts of the world’s temperate regions, for instance, a collector must have a surface area of about 430 square feet (40 square m) to gather enough energy to serve one person for one day. Solar energy utilization devices are called passive or active devices depending on the stages of conversion that take place between collection and actual use. Solar energy devices are often categorized depending on how the energy is collected, that is diffused (normal) and concentrating collection systems.

1 SUN salutation YOGA Surya Namaskar


CLIMATE- Series Climate and Comfort 1of12

Post 749 -by Gautam Shah


10 Insula apartment house Remains of the top floors of an insula near the Capitolium Wikipedia Image by user

Changes that we experience in things around us generally happen because of various effects of the climate. It affects all beings and things in small measures intermittently or continuously. A climate is the most pervasive, consistently variable and largely indeterminable phenomena.

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15 steel mill worker foundry metal molten hot industry industrial 911599

Our survival and comfort, both are conditioned by the climate. It builds up all our experiences. It provides the dynamism that is Nature. The climate, affects with aspects that are determinate and indeterminate. With determinate aspects, we plan our actions and for indeterminate aspects, we discipline ourselves for unusual eventualities. Rocks weather, sea beds get silted, sea water evaporates to provide clean water as rain, etc. are manifestations of a climate. A farmer plants seeds, squirrel collects nuts, or a bird builds a nest, all expecting a certain pattern of the climate. All living beings have an inherent capacity to adjust continuously to various levels of climatic conditions. And more often than not, organisms manage to survive even in unpredictable climates. When climatic changes are very sudden, different or very intense in time scale, complete annihilation of live form may occur. But most climatic effects set in over a long period, and new living forms are evolved through such adaptions.

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Our living is largely conditioned by the Climate of the place. We, through our instincts and intuitions find ways not only to survive, but carry on all functions in a manner that is easier than ever before. Unlike other living beings, humans have the capacity to think and plan their actions, and, so achieve a greater degree of adaptability for climate.

13 A favela is a shanty town, a slum area, but mainly due to shortage of Land

Human beings generally become acclimatized to the normal climate of the area where they live and work. They also have some built in resilience for minor variations. Most societies adopt the climates, through physiological changes, material usage techniques, housing patterns, etc.

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Built form and climate, are inseparable issues. Through a continuous process of selection and elimination societies develop for themselves a built form and a matching life style, which, seems almost intuitive or natural for the particular environment. These lifestyles pass on from one generation to another, and consequently problems of climatic adaption do not occur, or are not so severe. In stable societies few people move, and fewer built forms are transmitted (copied) from their original environment. Migrants usually try to transmit the original built form, to the place of their migration. Today large number of people migrate from one place to another. However young migrants, who have had no opportunity to imbibe the accumulated knowledge of climate adoption from the place of their origin, find it difficult to establish in an alien situation.

8 Tents cover the mountainside in the Kurdish refugee camp of Yekmel Refugees are being tra[...]

Builders, Architects or Interior Designers face the problems of human comfort in their work. The problems arise at many different levels:

1 When a large migrant and mixed population is being housed in a new region
☐ migrants are from different climatic regions and their level of adaptability is varied.
☐ migrants have many other acute problems that require immediate attention, and acquisition of a new life style to suit the changed climatic conditions may not be a priority.
☐ migrants carry varied images of built forms from places of their origin.

4 Dhaka Bangladesh 6835892796_96d516a762_c

2 When families are being housed in new public or mass housing
☐ families find new building patterns and local materials, not conducive enough to continue their habitual (original) climate-tested life styles.
☐ time-tested life styles of their original living units were based on certain context like group, communal or neighborhood living, which may not be available now.
☐ certain building patterns, which were possible in old type of community, may not be physically or economically viable in the new setup.

6 Bird Nest of Garbage

3 When joint or large families divide, and some move to new environments
☐ moving out members (parents, newly wedded couples etc.), may have very rigid concepts, or may not have imbibed the traditional values that help a natural climatic adaption.
☐ separating members have strong aspirations for a different life style (perceived from media and other sources), so disregard instinctive or natural climatic adaption procedures, new members have excessive resources to overcome the climatic adaption problems through electro mechanical devices.

19 Street with washerwomen, Naples, Italy] view

4 Over a period of time our needs for comfort change
☐ people age,
☐ social conditions or living styles change,
☐ technological innovations percolate down to the economically backward section of the society.

17 Chazhur Kovilakam Nalukettu

11 Chettinadu house

The primary attempts to understand the climate were limited to determine the level of its predictability. For this purpose, since prehistoric times, rain fall, temperature variations, seasonal changes, etc., are recorded and interpreted. In the past, our experience of a climate was from the localized observations and recordings. However, with scientific advancements, we are better equipped to study the cause and effect relationship of various climatic phenomena. It has been our endeavour to study the climate factors simultaneously over a greater region. Radars, aviation tools, satellites, and superior communication means, etc. offer us a much wider perspective. We are not only able to view our Earth as one entity but are able to take in three dimensional recordings, all through various levels of atmosphere. Through super computers (multi tasking) we can now build a clearer picture (mathematical model) of events or happenings that are taking place in our atmosphere.

18 Weather-climte observation

Today, we have a better appreciation of components that format the climate, such as air currents, air pressures, heat transmission, absorption, insulation, evaporation etc. We also have better knowledge about how other beings and plants react to the climate. Their instinctive ways of adaptation provide us with a new vocabulary for our dealings with the climate. Study of human endurance in very acute conditions like space shuttles, arctic conditions, deep water diving, under sea explorations, high altitude mountaineering, provide us with a lot of feedback on how to deal with climatic variations. Our techniques of survival, adaptation and comfort are improvising day by day.

20 Cell phones are a common way to access agro-met information in many parts of India-Credit F. Fiondella (IRICCAFS).


5 FOAM MATTRESSES for CUSHIONING (Cushioning 5 of 9)

Post 747 -by Gautam Shah


5.2 Factory for mass production of cotton mattresses late 19-early 20 C

In the past few decades, mattresses and foams became synonymous. A mattress is a cushion that allows supine to incline position of the body. Mattresses with or without Bed structures are used for night-long sleep, daytime siesta, intimacy, recovery from illness, food, chat, etc. A mattress is often not a necessity, if the Bed structures offer cushion like flexibility in supporting the body, such as for charpais (India) or Hammocks. Similarly an appropriately contour device can serve the purpose of a bed.

5.16 Inflatable animal skin bag mattress 15 C concept

5.17 Air filled forms Wikipedia Image by Zarateman

As a cushioning material, the structural, dynamic and mechanical properties of foams vary tremendously. The cushion effect may be through the air, liquid, dispersed solids which can form semi-solid or solid foams. For cushioning some of the important factors are, density, aeration or ventilation for diffusing the heat build-up, removal of moisture, recovery to original shape and pre-defined shape or contour. Many of these variants are mutually incompatible, so other means are explored, to add to the efficiency of mattresses. Primarily, these means are, layering of foams of varied densities, use of different types of foams, creating paths for aeration and moisture removal, selecting appropriate sub-structure and Bed design.

5.15 An air matress for use as a guest bed Wikipedia Image by Ingolfson


5.8 OutDoor sleeping bag Wikipedia Image Credt Matti Blume

Foams of close or open ended types, alone or as composites are used for cushioning. Foams with open-ended structure allow air or water to enter and escape on being compressed, and the specialized uses are as stamps, squeezes for sports pitches of synthetic grass. Many of the metal foams, with open-ended structures are non compressible, but of light-weight materials and find use in aircraft components.

5.6 Styrofoam bar Wikipedia Image by Motokichirou


5.14 Yoga Mats https 30478819 N0823973215648

5.13 Foam density may not carry much meaning, the grain structure voids vs solids is also important

5.13 Layers of a Composite Mattress

Long continuous use of any mattress, by some patient causes bed-sores, as fluids under the skin surface do not circulate properly. Such patients may need air, water or jelly filled mattresses that generate micro movement. Severely Burns patients may be accommodated on a hammock like a net surface, which allow greater aeration.

5.10 cross-section of a mattress made of coconut fibres(middle brown line),

5.4 UVDistressedFlexMoldedFoam800x600

Synthetic foams generate a distinct smell due to release of VoCs, more so, if the layers are joined by solvents or elastomeric adhesive materials. Mattresses with natural stuffings degenerate a smell of organic fouling, due to biological decomposition, in presence of moisture from atmosphere or body perspiration. All mattresses, with natural stuffing can be sun-aired or re-stuffed to prevent the infections. In some hospitals foam mattresses, are vapour (steam or formaldehyde) sterilized.

5.9 Polyurethane foam shrinkage over time. Not in direct sunlight. Ageing issue Wikipedia Image by Achim Hering This is more apperant in cast or sprayed foam than in free mattresses

To reduce the foam content in the making of a mattress, many new technologies are being innovated. One important one is to lay the foam sheet (single material or composite) over a closed ended foam like polystyrene or polyethylene material. This allows easy handling and shifting of the mattress, as an integrated (comparatively not bending) mass rests on a separate substructure. The mattress substructures are formed as network of wired springs, woven wires or stretchable stripes (of spring-steel, rubber or woven synthetics). The top layer of a mattress is made of pressed cotton quilt.

5.7 People prefer a cotton topper over a foam mattress httpswww pexels com photo modern-design of cozy bedroom with comfortable bed 6585762

Foam densities range from approximately 48 to 961 kg/m3. Low-density foams range 220-270 kg/m3, whereas high-density foams range higher than 270 kg/m3. Foams of the same density can vary considerably in their mechanical properties, due to the production process (chemical formulations and curing temperatures). Exposure to UV light can darken the exterior colour and deteriorate the quality of the foams. Denser foams are less susceptible to sagging, and more durable against accidental damage and edge tearing. These outlast low-density products.

5.1 Latex attress as topper with cover fabric

High-density foams offer better pressure relief, by moulding closer to the sleeper’s body shape, which causes lesser pressure build up around the back and shoulders. Low-density foams offer better aeration and so little heat build up occurs. Low-density foams feel less hard and tend to be more springy.

5.11 Highly crosslinked PE (poly ethylene), EVA (Ethylene-vinyl acetate) or PEVA (poly ethylene-vinyl acetate) are expanded rubber or foam rubber. These are lightweight co-polymers

The firmness of a mattress is determined by the entire composition of the bed. Each distinct layer, include specific variety of foams, such for top comfort layers, support mid or core, and the bottom layer. These may be duplicated on other face to make a reversible mattress or the whole composition is simply placed or integrated with the ‘bed’ structure. The bed structure with metal springs (vertical or horizontal), flat straps (spring steel, woven cotton or synthetics or wire netting) can contribute to how a mattress feels. A mattress topped with a low-density foam as a comfort layer, can still feel like a firm mattress, and a mattress with very high-density mid-cores can, still feel soft overall due to bed-structure. The firmness of a foam sheet is rarely true indicator of the firmness. A 150 mm sheet feels firmer, in comparison to a 50 mm one, of the same density and quality.

5.3 Mattresses for Sports at Interior of the René Dallier Gymnasium Courbevoie France

Commonly used polymer foams are identified by their foam (material) category, grain size, density, and special characteristics such as, Marine, Flame retardant, Anti Fungal, Anti Bacterial, Rigid, etc.

5.5 Spraying of PU foam for Insulation


4 FOAMS for CUSHIONING (Cushioning 4 of 9)

Post -746 -by Gautam Shah

4.8 Footrest to the throne of William III of the Netherlands. 1842-1849

The first known use of the word cushion was in the 14th C. The word, cushion, until than also meant, body parts like the heap, thigh, which need a soft support. Cushions were formed with layers of tapestry, or a bag made of some ornamental materials (tapestry, leather, etc.), which were stuffed with wool, hair, feathers, carded cotton, etc. The cushion bags were used mainly for sitting or kneeling on it. It was a sign of honour and respect for important persons. Some loose cushions were also used as a layer over a wood seat of the coach, or over the back of it. Early cushions were of small sized square shaped (Fr. carreau =square). Leather-covered cushions were fixed to the seat by edge seaming and mid-knots.

4.1 Mattresses for Elephant Rides -5285562_960_720

The word cushion comes from Middle English cushin, from Anglo-French cussin, quissin, from Vulgar Latin coxinus (seat pad and pulvīnus =pillow), from Latin coxa (hip, thigh), Middle English cusshon, cuschen, quesshon, Old French coissin (modern coussin), Latin culcita =quilt.

4.4 Sports knee cushions https en volleyball-team-mates-friends-mates-together-women-girls-99103

A cushion is a ‘soft’ or compressible mass of material packed in a bag. A cushion is a mediating object, placed as a strategic support. The supports were placed under’ the body or its limbs, mainly to counter the effect of gravity. Other strategic reasons for the supports, are to absorb the stresses of impact, diffusion of body fluids through good flow and reduction of external vibrations.

4.3 Leather saddle with suspension coil springs https en public-domain-photo-ffrma

Cushions as body supports are required for resting, seating, kneeling, walking, task handling and exercising. Cushions are required to gain certain body postures such as work heights, depth reach and balance. Cushions are required to support the buttocks (in seating on chairs, cross-legged on ground), knees (for kneeling), support the sides of the knees (during sleeping sideways), injury from shocks to neck, spine and back during driving and spinal pain, seating with inclined and a straight back. Cushions are required at specific joints of bones and muscles, for safety, defense, sports and other activities. The susceptible points are knees, elbows, skull, leg bones (Femur, Patella, Tibia, Fibula), arm bones, wrists, neck, pelvis, hips, chest, back, etc.

4.13 Cushioned Hand rest for praying priest

4.5 Hard foam floor pads for wrestling 6227751550_493417fc34_c

Other than the mattresses, cushion materials are required for absorbing jerks from the rough roads and stay-put on the seat or back of the animals. The travels include, bicycle, horse, camel and elephant rides, bullock or horse carts or the omni rides. These were utilities that also used metal coiled springs as jerk absorber under the seat and under the body-frame, heavily stuffed bags, and air-filled tubes inside the tyres. Sports use very high density foams on floors of wrestling, boxing, jumping, etc.

4.6 Men making tatami mats, late 19th c

Cushions are used as a layer, to absorb vibrations and for sound insulation. Such utilities include handles, floors, ear plugs, door padding (in private meeting rooms, to prevent eves-dropping) and as anti-ligature layer in wards for children and mentally disturbed patients.

4.7 Sports cricket safety pads for legs Wikipedia Image Aravind Sivaraj

Before 1950s cushioning effects were achieved by stuffing of granular or randomly stacked leafy materials. Some natural materials like leathers and furs also offered cushioning effects. Cushioning was made through air or water filled leather bags. In the South Americas natural rubber layers were used as footwear.

4.2 Mongolia

During the late 1950s, air entrained synthetic polymers were developed, first as stiff or static foams. These were, both, closed-ended and partly open-ended cells. Resilient or compressible foams soon followed, first of elastomeric compounds and than synthetic materials. Early compressible foams of Rubber and PU did take the impact stresses, but had poor shape recovery, still they were useful as cushioning material.

4.9 Moulded Foam_seat_back

Under appropriate conditions almost any thermosetting or thermoplastic resin can be converted into a foam. Polymers that are commonly foamed include, vinyls, polystyrene, polyethylene, phenolics, silicones, cellulose acetate, and urethane. Foams with a closed-cell structure are produced by incorporating a blowing agent that decomposes at the fusion point of the polymer, releasing gas bubbles. Foams with open-cell structures are produced by incorporating an inert gas into the resin under pressure and then releasing the mixture to the atmosphere and curing the resulting foam.

4.10 Open ended foam Bath Sponge httpspixnio.comobjectswood-table-sponge-foam-bath

Among the closed ended foams, expanded Styrene or Thermocole became very popular. A similar product was the expanded polyethylene. Both were available in sheets and pre-shaped forms. In both types of foams, it could be pre-cast forming or generating a foam to fill up a cavity of the die-form. In the third manner the foam generation itself creates an impermeable enveloping skin.

4.11 Aquarium Sponge Filter foam Wikipedia Image by Ofkun

4.12 Porous ceramic has interconnected cells that vary in size from 5-500 microns Wikipedia Image by Biofilter tech


LIST of BLOGS with topic search “DISTANCE”

POST 745 -by Gautam Shah



1 at my BLOG SITE >

  1. DEPTH and DISTANCE PERCEPTION -Issues of Design 33
  2. DISTANCE as an ELEMENT of DESIGN -Issues of Design 26
  3. SIZING and SCALING the SPACES -Issues of Design 23
  4. GEOMETRY -Issues of Design -21
  5. SCALING the SPACES -Issues for design -17
  6. SCALING the SPACES -Issues for design-9
  10. The INTERLUDE (intervening space)
  15. SIZE of SPACE


2 at my BLOG SITE >
529 Meanings of DISTANCE


3 at my BLOG SITE >


4 at my BLOG SITE >



3 ABOUT FOAMS (Series Cushioning 3 of 9)

Post 744by Gautam Shah


3.12 Styro-Foam Bean bags at Google Developer Day 2007

3.3 Polimide Aerogel Film GRC-2011-C-03587 - PICRYL Public Domain

Foams are air-entrained objects, where nominally a gas is trapped in solids or liquids. Foams, are called ‘examples of dispersed media’. The gas, the main dispersing agent is divided into bubbles of different sizes, called ‘polydisperse’. Foams are usually disordered with many different sizes of bubbles. In liquid-foams the bubbles continuously resize through collapse or assimilation. When the dispersed medium is very thin, it is called a type of colloid. Though some claim, ‘A Foam is a colloidal solution of liquid and gas, with liquid acting as dispersing medium, and the gas acting as the dispersed phase. So it cannot definitely be said that it is a solid, liquid, or gas. It is a colloidal solution’.

3.8 Aluminium Foam Wikipedia Image by Stehfun

Foams are nominally, air entrained compounds, but, the air (or a vacuum) pockets could be continuous- interconnected, or could be isolated. In the first case, the structure is fairly stiff (non-compressible), so, called solid foams (just a ‘light-weight hollowed mass’). In the second case, for the soft foams, the structure is not stiff, it can collapse, and which may or may not recover to the original shape.

3.2 Aerogel Flickr Image 5810742717

Aerogel is a synthetic ultra-light ‘porous’ material (98.2% air) that is derived, when a liquid is replaced by air. The result is a solid with extremely low density and low thermal conductivity. Aerogel is a synthetic porous ultra-light material derived from a gel, in which the liquid component of the gel has been replaced with a gas without significant collapse of the gel structure. It results into a solid form of extremely low density. Such materials show extremely low thermal conductivity. These have been called (mainly due to the translucent mass) frozen smoke, solid smoke, solid air, solid cloud, and blue smoke. Silica Aerogel feels like fragile expanded polystyrene to the touch, while some polymer-based Aerogels feel like rigid foams.

3.5 Sea foam on ocean beach http 3903736

Froth: The fizz on beer or the soap suds (bubbles) in bath water, are foams, a mixture of gas and liquid. Whisking the milk and egg-whites produces foam, air bubbles as an emulsion. Blowing a gas through a molten plastic fills it with bubbles, and when the plastic cools and solidifies, the gas bubbles are trapped inside, making a foamed-plastic, used for filling cushions, and packing of goods.

3.9 Beer Froth httpswww.piqsels.comenpublic-domain-photo-flyva

Materials have three states or phases of matter, namely Gas, Liquid, and Solid. These states also denote the structural rigidity and resistance to change of shape or volume. The states or phases are due to the temperature and pressure.

3.1 Forms of Compounded Materials

One of the earliest realizations of a foamed structure was the pumice stone (very porous, froth like volcanic glass, cooled fast without the crystallization). It is used as an abrasive for cleaning (rubbing the body-hair and fabrics), polishing, and as scouring compound. Another was the dried froth, spongy material (locally, W. India, called Ush) that gets deposited against the slightly alkaline shores of rivers and rivulets. It was used for washing the clothes. Ceramic materials, such as bricks are produced by addition of organic fibers (typically rice husks, chopped hay or mustard leaves and stalks) into the mud. On firing the organic material burns out leaving a lighter and hollowed mass.

3.23 Porous Brick of Clay httpswww.vhv.rsviewpichobhiJo_buy-red-clay-bricks

3.15 Dunlop Lateax Foam

Right from early days, the rubber-based foams had issues of density, heat dissipation from the mass, deterioration of the material due to defective vulcanization and release of VOCs. Some of the issues were partly solved by providing hollow cores on the back-face, which achieved additional compressibility (even with high density structure) and better aeration. The foams were excellent materials for thermal insulation, floating devices, packing, padding and stuffing of toys.

3.17 & 3.18 Open and Closed end foam structures

Foamed or Cellular materials are called expanded plastics or foams. These are made in various types, from soft and flexible to hard and rigid. There are three types of cellular plastics.
• Blown, an expanded matrix such as in a natural sponge.
Syntactic, encapsulation of hollow organic or inorganic micro-spheres (or nodules) in a matrix.
Structural are composed or formed materials with dense outer skin surrounding a foam core.

3.27 Methods of forming Cellulor Structures

✓ Gas in Liquids or Liquid foams These are like, froth, aerated soda, washing soap suds. These become little more stable or last longer, when a stabilizer or surfactant is present or added. In foods Proteins (eggs, oils, gums) act as foaming agents. Nearly all fermented foods are like foams. In aerated drinks and fire extinguishing foams, Carbon dioxide is dissolved. Foaming makes many foods lighter. Gas-liquid foams have high surface area and is exploited for flotation and foam fractionation. Many foaming conditions are not always desired, such as lubricating oils, chemical processes. To break the foams air releasing agents or skimmers (blades moving over the surface).

3.28 Gas in Liquid foam httpswww.pxfuel.comenfree-photo-jticg

✓ Gas in Solids or Solid foams. These are like breads, cakes, rubbers, polystyrene (Thermocole), polyurethane, paper pulp, slag, ceramic foam, sponge iron and tantalum or titanium sponge (for prosthetics). Solid foams are mostly used as lightweight cellular engineering materials.

3.6 Puffy mass of Idali (South Indian fermented food) 4273563605

✓ Solid foams are of two classes, based on their pore structures. Foams with open-cell structures, called reticulated foams, where the gas pockets are connect to each other. Foams with closed-cell structures, called cellular solids, where the gas is trapped into discrete pockets, each completely surrounded by the solid material. A bathing sponge is an open-cell foam, the water can be sucked in as well as squeezed out. A shoe base or sole is a closed-cell foam, though ‘porous’, cannot soak water as the gas pockets are sealed and separated from each other.

3.7 Bread foamed cavities httpspixabay.comdephotossauerteig-brot-brot-sauerteig-5001833

There are other classes of closed-cell foams, known as syntactic foams. These have embedded hollow particles or nodules placed in a matrix material. The nodules are made of glass, ceramic, polymers, etc. Such syntactic foams offer very high strength-to-weight ratio and so are useful for deep-sea and space applications. Memory Foams also use a syntactic shape-memory polymer, as a matrix.

3.16 Open cell polyurethane foam

✓ Foams can be forms of Composites. It is a product that is made by mixing fibers like straw, hair, coir, hemp, jute, papyruses, rice-husk etc. into fillers, like latex, mud, gum, etc. The filler fibres are arranged into patterns such as, random, unidirectional (aligned in a single direction), multi-directional (oriented in two or three directions) or spaced continuous strands. There is no compaction of the mass. On curing or hardening the mass has cavities that gives an identity of air-filled material. The materials are not very compressible, but have resilience. Such composites can absorb shocks, vibrations, sound and in few instances water or moisture. Rubberized-Coir fibre sheets are used with polyurethane foams and other foams for mattress making.

3.14 Aluminium foam sandwich

✓ Aluminium foam sandwich (AFS) is a product made of two metallic dense face sheets and a metal foam core made of an aluminium alloy. It is produced, once the raw MMC (Metal Matrix Composite) is melted, then transferred to the foaming apparatus, where gas is injected into the melt and dispersed using either rotating impellers or vibrating nozzles. Such panels are used as insulation face in very hot environments, as sound damping layer, reduced weight, increased energy absorption in case of crashes, and in military operations to combat the concussive force of IEDs.

3.13 Stabilized Aluminium Foam Wikipedia Image by CymatTechnologies

3.30 PU Leather

✓ Integral skin foams, also known as self-skin foams, have a high-density skin and a low-density core of the same material. Examples of integrated skin foams include, furnishing fabrics like rexines, insulated rails and handles, arm rests, baby seats, shoe soles, and mattresses. Exterior sandwich or composite panels (Aluminium composite panels -ACP), are used for external and internal architectural cladding, partitions, false ceilings, signage, machine coverings, container construction, etc. Materials like ACP may not be a sandwich construction, but through application like a coating on one face (that foams and insulates). ACPs often have highly combustible Polyethylene (PE) core, which was the principal cause of the rapid spread of flame in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London. Similarly the coating on the the aluminium sheets with polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF), fluoropolymer resins (FEVE), or polyester paint may contribute to combustibility and spread. In packaging, fluted polypropylene boards and polypropylene honeycomb boards are used for impact resistence. Ship cabins use lightweight door shutters, table tops, cupboards and shutters formed of wood veneers with core of foam.

3.29 ACP Panel tiles for Spaceship Earth at night Image by Benjamin D. Esham Wikimedia Commons

Under appropriate conditions almost any Polymer resin, thermoplastic or thermosetting can be foamed. Plastics, commonly foamed include vinyl, polystyrene, polyethylene, phenolic, silicone, cellulose acetate, and urethane, polystyrene or polypropylene. Hydroxyl terminated polyethers are often used to prepare flexible foams, typically for furniture cushioning. Hydroxyl-terminated polyesters, are popular for making rigid foams such as those used in custom packaging of appliances.

3.19 Porous ceramic filler for biological filtration in aquarium filter

Unlike many polymer foams, metal foams remain deformed after impact and can therefore only be deformed once. Reticulated foam, compressible and porous material. For orthopedic applications, tantalum or titanium foams are used for their tensile strength, corrosion resistance and bio-compatibility.

3.24 Sand holes structure background a hole httpspixabay.comdephotoszellen-sand-lcher-struktur-4871686

✓ Many natural substances such as rocks and soil (e.g. aquifers, petroleum reservoirs), zeolites, biological tissues (e.g. bones, wood, cork), and man made materials such as cements and ceramics can be considered as porous media and not as Foams.

3.26 Spray Foam Applicator for Open Cell Foam WSikipedia Image by Chicagosprayfoam

Foams are used as shock absorbers and vibration retarders. There are many other shape configurations that absorb the impact. Air-filled constructions or compositions, such as the air-filled tubes and bubbles, tubes and tyres, fibers like carded cotton, rayon, coconut, wool, hay, straw and bird-feathers are pressed into mats or sheets. Mineral wool is a fibrous mass formed by spinning or drawing the molten mineral or rock materials such as slag, glass and ceramics. These have resilience as well compressibility. Multi layered corrugated papers, paper pulp formed items (egg crates), layered beds of hair (brushes), coiled springs, pre-stressed and shaped shock absorbers of spring steels, etc.

3.31 Paper Pulp Paper mache packaging


ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part III

Post 740 -by Gautam Shah

5 Abbot Suger and formation of Gothic Structure —

43 Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height Ambulatory Vaulting, Basilica of St. Denis https www flickr com photos pro7227729490

Basic features of the Gothic architecture, like Rib Vaults, Pointed arches, thin ribbed columns and height, were in use before, but for the first time, all were assembled together. The density and darkness of the Romanesque buildings were due to the heavy load bearing walls required to support the masonry domes. The heavy walls also accommodated the displacement thrusts within their thickness. The heavy walls could not rise up to great heights.

36 The sense of Vertical The ceiling at the crossing, St. Denis https www photos scottgunn 28857102347 b81658603a_c

Suger recognised the value of, than sporadically used concept of flying buttresses. Sugar also saw that buttresses placed outside the enclosure skin, made the interiors free of heavy walls. The technical improvements of external buttresses and pointed arch-based vaults reduced the ‘self or dead load’ on columns. The enclosure skin or exterior walls were more or less replaced with columns. These schemes created greater height and larger windows.

38 The apse or East side of Cathedral with flying buttresses in 1878

44 Reformed Nave Basilica St Denis France Paris Wikipedia Image by Britchi Mirela

37 Basilica of Saint-Denis, Paris, interior Wikipedia Image by Rita1234

The significance of Saint-Denis, then, was not that its master builders pioneered the new forms of construction, it was simply the first time that they were used together with the intention of creating a markedly different effect than that which prevailed in the abbey’s Romanesque contemporaries. By skillfully combining these pre-existing threads, a new architectural creation was created.

41 Abbaye de Saint-Denis years 1140-1144 1231-1281 cd246320b8_k

Gothic style as it evolved had the columns and the vaults. The new features, like, rib, pointed arches, and column to column windows, all accentuated the verticality. The Gothic architecture intentionally maximized the lightness of the space through height. The abbot was deeply affected by the results of his own alterations and ‘wished to reinforce the same through artistic glass works’.

39 Gothic vaulting reduced the roof loads and use of pointed arch and vaults allowed equal roof height for all span widths. St. Denis https www photos scottgunn 28857101797

In the first phase Sugar had to see that during the construction original structure remained substantially functional. The original Romanesque nave, the central space was kept intact. Suger added two bays (of 3 spans and 3 stories each) on new western front entrance, and a new Narthex, with 4 additional bays. The new western extension was completed in 1140. As construction of the western façade was completed, the most important and emotional section for the pilgrims and rulers was taken up. Crypts now had an airy, illuminated and wider space, which made it less suffocating and easy to move area.

42 Map of the tombs in Saint Denis Basilica

46 Cathedral Basilica of Saint-Denis, Royal burial place for French Kings and Queens https photos ninara 24596301962

‘About forty-two kings, thirty-two queens, sixty-three princes and princesses and ten loyal servants of the kingdom were buried in the Basilica of Saint Denis until the nineteenth century. The kings’ necropolis is one of the most important funerary monuments in the world. This was not always the case. Indeed, the Abbey in Saint-Denis was confronted with competition, especially from Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and only got recognition thanks to the obstinacy of Abbot Suger and the support of the Capetian dynasties’.

It was largely due to Suger, in the 12th C, the Basilica became a principal sanctuary of French Royalty. It was equally important place, like Reims Cathedral, where the Kings were crowned.

47 Basilique Saint Denis Model Wikipedia Image by Arnaud 25

To reconstruct such an important place, with a new structure (of double rows of columns + exterior colonnaded wall) was politically and religiously very risky decision. The old structure was preserved till the new 3 parts ribbed roof vaults became ready. The new external wall was full of stained glasses. The improvised new walls of stained glass, reduced the wall area, to minimum. This was completed after Suger’s death, and was known as Rayonnant Gothic or style Decorated Gothic.

48 Very difficult scheme of erecting new columns preserving the old ones for a while Ambulatory at St. Denis https photos scottgunn 43745511422

Suger was able to design and strategize the first church in the Gothic style. He exploited the stained glass windows in St. Denis as a mural art to depict stories and messages far more brilliantly than the original Romanesque mosaic murals. The rich and famous, now wanted to contribute and participate in the reconstruction. They wanted their names to be included, and also suggested the themes for the compositions. This offered St. Denis huge sum.

49 Stained glass _window in the Basilica of Saint Denis Paris France

The themes of stained glass windows were of three types, dominantly religious, secular or ornamental. First two group are mixed, but the ornamental themes had entire surface.


Suger had planned twin towers on west end, but, in his life, time only the southern one was completed. The northern tower was finished by one of his successors. The south one, twice faced lightening strikes in 1219 and 1837. It remained incomplete ever since.

51 Saint-Denis Basilique Fassade Wikipedia Image by Zairon


ABBOT SUGER -father of Gothic architecture -Part II

Post 739 -by Gautam Shah

Part II of series IV
4 Abbot Suger and Ideas on Illumination —

27 The The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. https photos scottgunn 2885710162

Suger, understood lux, as the external light, shining outside the cathedral, coming directly from the sun and nature. This was for everyone, ‘even the heretic and the wicked’. But, once it entered through the windows, it emitted in all directions, and transformed into lumen. It is a new metaphysical light through the tinted glass. This interior light was consecrated and holy, for ‘faith and divine inspiration’. The interior illumination and the new expanse of the space, was perceived as the metaphysical light or Christ’s divinity, not available anywhere else. The new ethereal wall and the illumination functioned much like the ancient temenos, a sanctimonious precinct. ‘Walk in the light, as He is in the light’.

28 Interior of Saint-Denis Wikipedia Image by Gilles Messian

Suger could, somehow, visualize three different Latin terms for Light: Lux, Lumen and Illumination. (The Three terms, perhaps derived from a book* by Avicenna, the Muslim philosopher and physician of 11th C). *Kitab al Shifa =’The Book of Healing or Latin title Sufficientiae’. This was a voluminous philosophical and scientific treatise or encyclopaedia. It covered, topics like logic, natural sciences, psychology, (the quadrivium or four subjects like, geometry, astronomy, mathematics besides music, and metaphysics).

29 Predominance of Blue- Red by Suger The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour. Detail of 12th C glass, St. Denis https photos scottgun.

Coloured glass had long been understood as a surrogate for the precious stones. It has been in use even before the Gothic era. The exploitation of colour contrasts (Red -jasper Blue -sapphire, where the red represented the passion, holy blood, and the blue, as the colour of heaven) was rather new interpretation. Incidentally, these two colours, form nearly the opposite ends of the visual spectrum.

29-1 Saint Denis Basilique Saint Denis Wikipedia Image by Pierre Poschadel

Delighted with the effect of light, Suger, inside the abbey church, engraved an inscription to the glory of Light. ‘The heart of the sanctuary glows in splendour, which is united in splendour, radiates in splendour’. He also said that ‘while light is necessary for the worthy glorification of God, the largest possible number of the faithful must also be able to pray without jostling, to approach and contemplate the Holy Relics on feast days’.

30 Inside view of stained glass, St. Denis Cathedral, St. Denis, France, upper choir Wikipedia Image by Ninaras

Suger transformed the cathedral space into a different place. ‘It was to like bringing heaven on earth’. He wrote, ‘the multicolored loveliness of the gems has transported me from material to immaterial things, sapphire glass of intense blue colour as having the same importance as gems.’ He identified the best Glass makers across Europe, and sourced the glass raw material for the new construction.

31 Windows light and organ at St Denis https www flickr com photos scottgunn 28857102537

The improvement of quality of glass, its popularity and widespread use occurred in this period, mainly because of reduction of colour tonal intensity resulting in increased transparency. A significant feature to emerge in the 13th C, was the development of grisaille glass windows. It is composed largely of white glass, generally painted with foliage designs, and leaded into complicated geometric patterns. Such glass was cheaper and easier to produce. Its introduction made interiors lighter and other art and architectural features, noticeable.

32 Dull colours and dominance to whites in stained glass allowed architectural features to be visually important Nave of the Basilica of St. Denis, Saint-Denis, France Wikipedia Image by Zairon

The Gothic Colours of stained glass are prone to mis-use in wrong hands. The interiors often became snazzy with too many colours, but of dark shades. During daytime the stained glass on exteriors are dead grey, and at night time the interiors are lifeless (in absence of significant street illumination). This forced adoption of Grisaille (monochrome) glasses.

33 Illustrations and cover of the treaty Diversarum Artium Schedula by Theophilus Presbyter - encyclopedia of technical knowledge in the Middle Ages in the field of art and craftsmanship.

The blown glass had technical imperfections such as air bubbles, striations, and ripples, this made the transparency lively, as the light seemed to refract through the mass. The church interiors were now glowing, not just with the light from expansive stained windows, but altars, crosses, other liturgical objects were all richly embellished with gems, draped with brightly coloured and gold lined fabrics, with the new donations.

35 Construction workers on Site in Bourges Bourges Cathedral Built atop an earlier Romanesque church from 1195 until 1230 Wikipedia Image by Gerd Eichmann

With the Renaissance, the stained glass was to become varied in colours, faultless, flatter, larger, thinner, but less vivid. The glass joints however could now be thinner and sparser. This thin joints were exploited, as less marked lines for zoning of colours, and more for the articulation of the thematic composition.

34 Lighter colours Flamboyant (late Gothic) style windows of the nave of the royal abbey-church of Saint-Ouen, Rouen (early 16th C. Wikipedia Image by Philippe Roudaut

The technique of making stained-glass windows was first documented in the Schedula Diversarum Artium, a compendium of craft-information probably written between 1110 and 1140 by the monk Theophilus.