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Tell them where it hurts
Date:3/18/2008

For statues, stress injuries come from standing in place for hundreds of years. Using a novel technique, researchers have now developed a way to predict such fracturing, applying the procedure to Michelangelo's David in an analysis that proved simpler, faster and more accurate than previous methods.

In applying the technique to other objects -- including human bones -- the researchers are also gaining new perspective on how these structures are likely to fail.

On March 18, 2008, Vadim Shapiro of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Igor Tsukanov of Florida International University and their colleagues will present their latest results from their Scan and Solve technique at the International Conference on Computational and Experimental Engineering and Sciences in Honolulu, Hawaii.

"This research is likely to result in a breakthrough technology for performing direct engineering analysis on physical artifacts in situ (in place)," said Shapiro, director of the Spatial Automation Laboratory at his university.

Scan and Solve takes 3-D sampled or scanned data of an object and calculates where points of weakness occur and how those points will be affected by forces acting on them, such as gravity in the case of David or activity in the case of a human bone.

"These calculations are simple and painless, allowing for the exploration of many potential solutions for fixes in areas where fractures might occur," said Shapiro.

3-D data sets are now commonplace, whether from medical analyses conducted in doctors' offices across the country or laser scans used to capture complex shapes like the Hatcher Triceratops skeleton at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

Engineers can capture datasets for almost anything, even enormous structures, because the techniques can often be used to scan an object in place without the need to transport the object to a laboratory.


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Contact: Josh Chamot
jchamot@nsf.gov
703-292-7730
National Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert  

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