Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Yurts Are Hyperboloids

Today, Mark turned me on to the connection between yurt walls, and a hyperboloid, which is a 3D geometrical surface. But what is special about the surface is that you can create it, although it is curved, using only straight lines!

A hyperboloid 3D surface. Source: www-lm.ma.tum.de

This is exactly how the walls of a yurt are put together! The individual long khana pieces are not bent, although it creates a round wall. Compare the 3D surface to the yurt:

Yurt Frame Raising
The yurt.

On wikipedia, it says that since the hyperboloid shape can be built with straight beams, it allows minimization of wind cross-section while retaining structural integrity with minimal material.

Other structures which are made of the same shape are cooling towers.

A power plant cooling tower.