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Representations of smooth surfaces for analysis and manufacture

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For repeatable manufacture of objects with smooth aesthetic surfaces, it has always been necessary to have a representation acting as the master, so that the parts of the object will fit together properly. In the latter half of the 20th century numerical techniques for the analysis of, for example, strength and stiffness required that the representations should be machine readable. Numerically controlled production machinery gave similar requirements.

The talk describes half a dozen or so different representations which have been used, including physical lofting, NURBS , STL files and subdivision surfaces, summarising their essences, strengths and weaknesses.

This talk is part of the Engineering Department Structures Research Seminars series.

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